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NO. 23233 

Cornell University 

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tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 




'Alias!' quod she, ' that ever this sholde liappe! 

For wende I never, by possibilitee. 

That swich a monstre or merveille mighte be! ' 

-The Fbankeleyn's Tale 

















I. The Man and the Brig 1 

II. The Shore of Refuge 53 

III. The Capture 103 

IV. The Gift of the Shallows 179 

V. The Point of Honour and the Point of Passion . 227 

VI. The Claim of Life and the Toll of Death ... 311 



THE shallow sea that foams and murmurs on the shores 
of the thousand islands, big and little, which make up 
the Malay Archipelago has been for centuries the 
scene of adventurous undertakings. The vices and the quali- 
ties of four nations have been displayed in the conquest of 
that region that even to this day has not been robbed of all 
the mystery and romance of its past — and the race of men 
who had fought against the Portuguese, the Spaniards, the 
Dutch and the English, has not been changed by the unavoid- 
able defeat. They have kept to this day their love of liberty, 
their fanatical devotion to their chiefs, their blind fidelity 
in friendship and hate — all their lawful and unlawful instincts. 
Their country of land and water — for the sea was as much 
their country as the earth of their islands — has fallen a 
prey to the western race — the reward of superior strength if 
not of superior virtue. To-morrow the advancing civiliza- 
tion shall obliterate the marks of a long struggle in the ac- 
complishment of its incAdtable victory. 

The adventurers who began that struggle have left no 
descendants. The ideas of the world changed too quick 
for that. But even far into the present century they have 
had successors. Almost in our own day we have seen one of 
them — a true adventurer in his devotion to his impulse — 
a man of high mind and of pure heart, lay the foundation of a 
flourishing state on the ideas of pity and justice. He recog- 
nized chivalrously the claims of the conquered; he was a dis- 
interested adventurer, and the reward of his noble instincts 
is in the veneration with which a strange and faithful race 
cherish his memory. 


Misunderstood and traduced in life, the glory of nis 
achievement has vindicated the purity of his motives. He 
belongs to history. But there were others — obscure ad- 
venturers who had not his advantages of birth, position and 
intelligence; who had only his sympathy with the people of 
forests and sea he understood and loved so well. They can 
not be said to be forgotten since they have not been known at 
all. They were lost in the common crowd of seamen- traders 
of the Archipelago, and if they emerged from their obscurity 
it was only to be condemned as law-breakers. Their lives 
were thrown away for a cause that had no right to exist in 
the face of an irresistible and orderly progress — their thought- 
Jess lives guided by a simple feeling. 

But the wasted lives, for the few who know, have tinged 
with romance the region of shallow waters and forest-clad 
islands, that lies far east, and still mysterious between the 
deep waters of two oceans. 


OUT of the level blue of a shallow sea Carimata raises 
a lofty barrenness of gray and yellow tints, the drab 
eminence of its arid heights. Separated by a narrow 
strip of water, Suroeton, to the west, shows a curved and ridged 
outline resembling the backbone of a stooping giant. And 
to the eastward a troop of insignificant islets stand effaced, 
indistinct, with vague features that seem to melt into the 
gathering shadows. The night following from the eastward 
the retreat of the setting sun advanced slowly, swallowing 
the land and the sea; the land broken, tormented and abrupt; 
the sea smooth and inviting with its easy polish of continuous 
surface to wanderings facile and endless. 

There was no wind, and a small brig that had lain all the 
afternoon a few miles to the northward and westward of 
Carimata had hardly altered its position half a mile during 
all these hours. The calm was absolute, a dead, flat calm, 
the stillness of a dead sea and of a dead atmosphere. As far 
as the eye could reach there was nothing but an impressive 
immobility. Nothing moved on earth, on the waters, and 
above them in the unbroken lustre of the sky. On the un- 
ruffled surface of the straits the brig floated tranquil and up- 
right as if bolted solidly, keel to keel, with its own image 
reflected in the unframed and immense mirror of the sea. 
To the south and east the double islands watched silently 
the double ship that seemed fixed amongst them forever, a 
hopeless captive of the calm, a helpless prisoner of the shallow 

Since midday, when the light and capricious airs of these 
seas had abandoned the little brig to its lingering fate, her 
head had swung slowly to the westward and the end of her 
slender and polished jib-boom, projecting boldly beyond the 


graceful curve of the bow, pointed at the setting sun, like a 
spear poised high in the hand of an enemy. Right aft by the 
wheel the Malay quartermaster stood with his bare, brown 
feet firmly planted on the wheel-grating, and holding the 
spokes at right angles, in a solid grasp, as though the ship 
had been running before a gale. He stood there perfectly 
motionless, as if petrified but ready to tend the helm as soon 
as fate would permit the brig to gather way through the oily 

The only other human being then visible on the brig's 
deck was the person in charge: a white man of low stature, 
jthick-set with shaven cheeks, a grizzled moustache and a face 
tinted a scarlet hue by the burning suns and by the sharp 
salt breezes of the seas. He had thrown off his light jacket, 
and clad only in white trousers and a thin cotton singlet, 
with his stout arms crossed on his breast— upon which they 
showed like two thick lumps of raw flesh — he prowled about 
from side to side of the half -poop. On his bare feet he wore 
a pair of straw sandals, and his head was protected by an 
enormous pith hat — once white but now very dirty — ^which 
gave to the whole man the aspect of a phenomenal and ani- 
mated mushroom. At times he would interrupt his uneasy 
shuffle athwart the break of the poop, and stand motionless 
with a vague gaze fixed on the image of the brig in the calm 
water. He could also see down there his own head and 
shoulders leaning out over the rail and he would stand long, 
as if interested by his own features, and mutter vague curses 
on the" calm which lay upon the ship like an immovable bur- 
den; immense and burning. 

At last, he sighed profoundly, nerved himself for a great 
effort, and making a start away from the rail managed to drag 
his slippers as far as the binnacle. There he stopped again, 
exhausted and bored. From imder the lifted glass panes of 
the cabin skylight near by came the feeble chirp of a canarj'^, 
which appeared to give him some satisfaction. He listened, 

smiled faintly, muttered "Dicky, poor Dick " and fell 

back into the immense silence of the world. His eyes closed, 
his head hung low over the hot brass of the binnacle top. 


Suddenly he stood up with a jerk and said sharply in a 
hoarse voice: 

"You've been sleeping — ^you. Shift the helm. She has 
got stern way on her." 

The Malay, without the least flinch of feature or pose, as 
if he had been an inanimate object called suddenly into life 
by some hidden magic of the words, spun the wheel rapidly, 
letting the spokes pass through his hands; and when the 
motion had stopped with a grinding noise, caught hold again 
and held on grimly. After a while, however, he turned his 
head slowly over his shoulder, glanced at the sea, and said 
in an obstinate tone: 

"No catch wind — no get way." 

"No catch — no catch — that's all you know about it," 

growled the red-faced seaman. "By and by catch Ali " 

he went on with sudden condescension. "By and by catch, 
and then the helm will be the right way. See? " 

The stolid seacannie seemed to see, and for that matter 
to hear, nothing. The white man looked at the impassive 
Malay with disgust, then glanced around the horizon — then 
again at the helmsman and ordered curtly : 

"Shift the helm back again. Don't you feel the air from 
aft? You are like a dummy standing there." 

The Malay revolved the spokes again with disdainful 
obedience, and the red-faced man was moving forward 
grunting to himself, when through the open skylight the 
hail "On deck there!" arrested him short, attentive and 
with a sudden change to amiability in the expression of his 

"Yes, sir," he said, bending his ear towards the opening. 

"What's the matter up there?" asked a deep voice from 

The red-faced man in a tone of surprise said: 


"I hear that rudder grinding hard up and hard down. 
What are you up to, Shaw? Any wind? " 

"Ye-es," drawled Shaw, putting his head down the sky- 
light and speaking into the gloom of the cabin. "I thought 


there was a light air, and — but it's gone now. Not a breath 
anywhere under the heavens." 

He withdrew his head and waited a while by the skylight, 
but heard only the chirping of the indefatigable canary, a 
feeble twittering that seemed to ooze through the drooping 
red blossoms of geraniums growing in flower-pots under the 
glass panes. He strolled away a step or two before the voice 
from down below called hurriedly : 

' ' Hey, Shaw ? Are you there ? ' ' 

"Yes, Captain Lingard," he answered, stepping back. 

"Have we drifted anything this afternoon.''" 

"Not an inch, sir, not an inch. We might as well have 
been at anchor." 

"It's always so," said the invisible Lingard. His voice 
changed its tone as he moved in the cabin, and directly after- 
wards burst out with a clear intonation while his head ap- 
peared above the slide of the cabin entrance: "Always so! 
The currents don't begin till it's dark, when a man can't see 
against what confounded thing he is being drifted, and then 
the breeze will come. Dead on end, too, I don't doubt." 

Shaw moved his shoulders slightly. The Malay at the 
wheel, after maldng a dive to see the time by the cabin clock 
through the skylight, rang a double stroke on the small bell 
aft. Directly forward, on the main deck, a shrill whistle arose 
long drawn, modulated, dying away softly. The masfer of 
the brig stepped out of the companion upon the deck of his 
vessel, glanced aloft at the yards laid dead square; then, from 
the door step, took a long, lingering look round the horizon. 

He was about thirty-five, erect and supple. He moved 
freely, more like a man accustomed to stride over plains and 
hiOs, than like one who from his earliest youth had been used 
to counteract by sudden swayings of his body the rise and 
roll of cramped decks of small craft, tossed by the caprice of 
angry or playful seas. 

He wore a gray flannel shirt, and his white trousers were 
held by a blue silk scarf wound tightly round his narrow 
waist. He had come up only for a moment, but finding the 
poop shaded by the main-topsail he remained on deck bare- 


headed. The light chestnut hair curled close about his well- 
shaped head, and the clipped beard glinted vividly when he 
passed across a narrow strip of sunlight, as if every hair in it 
had been a wavy and attenuated gold wire. His mouth was 
lost in the heavy moustache; his nose was straight, short, 
slightly blunted at the end; a broad band of deeper red 
stretched under the eyes, clung to the cheek bones. The eyes 
gave the face its remarkable expression. The eyebrows, 
darker than the hair, pencilled a straight line below the 
wide and unwrinkled brow much whiter than the sunburnt 
face. The eyes, as if glowing with the light of a hidden 
fire, had a red glint in their grayness that gave a scrutiniz- 
ing ardour to the steadiness of their gaze. 

That man, once so well known, and now so completely 
forgotten amongst the charming and heartless shores of the 
shallow sea, had amongst his fellows the nickname of "Red- 
Eyed Tom." He was proud of his luck but not of his 
good sense. He was proud of his brig, of the speed of his 
craft, which was reckoned the swiftest country vessel in those 
seas, and proud of what she represented. 

She represented a run of luck on the Victorian gold-fields; 
his sagacious moderation; long days of planning, of loving 
care in building; the great joy of his youth, the incomparable 
freedom of the seas; a perfect because a wandering home; his 
independence, his love — and his anxiety. He had often 
heard men say that Tom Lingard cared for nothing on earth 
but for his brig— and in his thoughts he would smilingly cor- 
rect the statement by adding that he cared for nothing living 
but the brig. 

To him she was as full of life as the great world. He felt 
her live in every motion, in every roll, in every sway of her 
tapering masts, of those masts whose painted trucks move 
forever, to a seaman's eye, against the clouds or against 
the stars. To him she was always precious — ^like old love; 
always desirable — like a strange woman; always tender — 
like a mother; always faithful — hke a favourite daughter of 
a man's heart. 

For hours he would stand elbow on rail, his head in his 


hand and listen — and listen m dreamy stillness to the cajoling 
and promising whisper of the sea, that slipped past in vanish- 
ing bubbles along the smooth black-painted sides of his craft. 
What passed in such moments of thoughtful solitude through 
the mind of that child of generations of fishermen from the 
coast of Devon, who like most of his class was dead to the 
subtle voices, and blind to the mysterious aspects of the 
world — the man ready for the obvious, no matter how start- 
/ling, how terrible or menacing, yet defenceless as a child 
I before the shadowy impulses of his own heart; what could 
t have been the thoughts of such a man, when once surren- 
>dered to a dreamy mood, it is difficult to say. 

No doubt he, like most of us, would be uplifted at times 
by the awakened lyrism of his heart into regions charming, 
empty and dangerous. But also, Hke most of us, he was 
unaware of his barren journeys above the interesting cares 
of this earth. Yet from these, no doubt absurd and wasted 
moments, there remained on the man's daily hfe a tinge as 
that of a glowing and serene half-light. It softened the 
outlines of his rugged nature; and these moments kept close 
the bond between him and his brig. 

He was aware that his little vessel could give him some- 
thing not to be had from anybody or anything in the world; 
something specially his owh. The dependence of that solid 
man of bone and muscle on that obedient thing of wood 
and iron, acquired from this feeling the mysterious dignity 
of love. She — the craft — ^had all the qualities of a living 
thing: speed, obedience, trustworthiness, endurance, beauty, 
capacity to do and to suffer — all but life. He, the man, was 
the inspirer of that thing that to him seemed the most per- 
fect of its kind. His will was its will, his thought was its 
impulse, his breath was the breath of its existence. He felt 
all this confusedly, without ever shaping this feeling into the 
soundless formulas of thought. To him she was unique and 
dear, this brig of three hundred and fourteen tons register — a 

And now, bareheaded and burly, he walked the deck of his 
kingdom with a regular stride. He stepped out from the 


hip, swinging his arms with the free motion of a man starting 
out for a fifteen-mile walk into open country; yet at every 
twelfth stride he had to tiu-n about sharply and pace back 
the distance to the taffrail. 

Shaw, with his hands stuck in his waistband, had hooked 
himself with both elbows to the rail, and gazed apparently at 
the deck between his feet. In reality he was contemplating 
a little house with a tiny front garden, lost in a maze of river- 
side streets in the east end of London. The circumstance 
that he had not, as yet, been able to make the acquaintance 
of his son — now aged eighteen months — worried him slightly, 
and was the cause of that flight of his fancy into the murky 
atmosphere of his home. But it was a placid flight followed 
by a quick return. In less than two minutes he was back 
in the brig, "All there," as his saying was. He was proud of 
being always "all there." 

He was abrupt in manner and grumpy in speech with the 
seamen. To lus successive captains, he was outwardly as 
deferential as he knew how, and as a rule inwardly hostile— 
BO very few seemed to him of the "all there" kind. Of LLn- 
gard, with whom he had only been a short time— having been 
picked up in Madras Roads out of a home ship, which he had 
to leave after a thumping row with the master— he generally 
approved, although he recognized with regret that this man, 
like most others, had some absurd fads; he defined them as 
"bottom-upwards notions." 

He was a man — as there were many — of no particular 
value to anybody but himself, and of no accoxmt but as the 
chief mate of the brig, and the only white man on board of 
her besides the captain. He felt himself immeasurably su- 
perior to the Malay seamen whom he had to handle, and 
treated them with lofty toleration, notwithstanding his opin- 
ion that at a pinch those chaps would be found emphatically 

"not there." , . , , , 

As soon as his mind came back from his home leave, he 
detached himself from the rail and, walking forward, stood 
by the break of the poop, looking along the port side of the 
main deck. Lingard on his owm side stopped in his walk and 


also gazed absentmindedly before him. In the waist of the 
brig, in the narrow spars that were lashed on each side of the 
hatchway, he could see a group of men squatting in a circle 
around a wooden tray piled up with rice, which stood on the 
just swept deck. The dark-faced, soft-eyed silent men, squat- 
ting on their hams, fed decorously with an earnestness that 
did not exclude reserve. 

Of the lot, only one or two wore sarongs, the others having 
submitted — at least at sea — to the indignity of European 
trousers. Only two sat on the spars. One, a man with a 
childlike, light yellow face, smiling with fatuous imbecility 
Under the wisps of straight coarse hair dyed a mahogany tint, 
/was the tindal of the crew — a kind of boatswain's or Sevang's 
'mate. The other, sitting beside him on the booms, was a 
man nearly black, not much bigger than a large ape, and wear- 
j ing on his wrinkled face that look of comical truculence whidi 
\is often characteristic of men from the southwestern coast of 

This was the kassab, or store-keeper, the holder of a posi- 
tion of dignity and ease. The kassab was the only one of the 
crew taking their evening meal who noticed the presence on 
deck of their commander. He muttered something to the 
tindal who directly cocked his old hat on one side, which 
senseless action invested him with an altogether foolish ap- 
pearance. The others heard, but went on somnolently feed- 
ing with spidery movements of their lean arms. 

The sun was no more than a degree or so above the horizon, 
and from the heated surface of the waters a slight low mist 
began to rise; a mist thin, invisible to the human eye; yet 
strong enough to change the sun into a mere glowing red disc, 
a disc vertical and hot, rolling down to the edge of the hori- 
zontal and cold-looking disc of the shining sea. Then the 
edges touched and the circular expanse of water took on 
suddenly a tint, sombre, like a frown; deep, like the brooding 
meditation of evil. 

The falling sun seemed to be arrested for a moment in his 
descent by the sleeping waters, while from it, to the motion- 
less brig, shot out on the polished and dark surface of the 


sea a track of light, straight and shining, resplendent and 
direct; a path of gold and crimson and purple, a path that 
seemed to lead dazzling and terrible from the earth straight 
into heaven through the portals of a glorious death. It 
faded slowly. The sea vanquished the light. At last only a 
vestige of the sun remained, far off, like a red spark floating 
on the water. It lingered, and all at once — without warning 
— went out as if extinguished by a treacherous hand. 

"Gone," cried Lingard, who had watched intently yet 
missed the last moment. "Gone! Look at the cabin clock, 

" Nearly right, I think, sir. Three minutes past six." 

The helmsman struck four bells sharply. Another bare- 
footed seacannie glided on the far side of the poop to relieve 
the wheel, and the serang of the brig came up the ladder to 
take charge of the deck from Shaw. He came up to the com- 
pass, and stood waiting silently. 

"The course is south by east when you get the wind, 
Serang," said Shaw, distinctly. 

"Sou' by eas'," repeated the elderly Malay with grave 

"Let me know when she begins to steer," added Lingard. 

"Ya, Tuan," answered the man, glancing rapidly at the 
sky. "Wind coming," he muttered. 

"I think so, too," whispered Lingard as if to himself. 

The shadows were gathering rapidly round the brig. A 
mulatto put his head out of the companion and called out : 

"Ready, sir." 

"Let's get a mouthful of something to eat, Shaw," said 
Lingard. "I say, just take a look around before coming be- 
low. It will be dark when we come up again." 

" Certainly, sir," said Shaw, taking up a long glass and put- 
ting it to his eyes. "Blessed thing," he went on in snatches 
while he worked the tubes in and out, " I can't — never some- 
how—Ah ! I've got it right at last ! " 

He revolved slowly on his heels, keeping the end of the 
tube on the sky-line. Then he shut the instrument with a 
click, and said decisively: 


"Nothing in sight, sir." 

He followed his captain down below rubbing his hands 

For a good while there was no sound on the poop of the 
brig. Then the seacannie at the wheel spoke dreamily : 

"Did the malim say there was no one on the sea?" 

"Yes," grunted the serang without looking at the man be- 
hind him. 

"Between the islands there was a boat," pronounced the 
man very softly. 

The serang, his hands behind his back, his feet slightly 
apart, stood very straight and stiff by the side of the compass 
stand. His face, now hardly visible, was as inexpressive as 
the door of a safe. 

"Now, listen to me," insisted the helmsman in a gentle 

The man in authority did not budge a hair's breadth. The 
seacannie bent down a little from the height of the wheel 

"I saw a boat," he murmured with something of the tender 
obstinacy of a lover begging for a favour. "I saw a boat, 
O Haji Wasub ! Ya ! Haji Wasub ! " 

The serang had been twice a pilgrim, and was not insensible 
to the sound of his rightful title. There was a grim smile 
on his face. 

"You saw a floating tree, O Sali," he said, ironically. 

"I am Sali, and my eyes are better than the bewitched 
brass thing that pulls out to a great length," said the pertina- 
cious helmsman. "There was a boat, just clear of the 
easternmost island. There was a boat, and they in her could 
see the ship on the light of the west — unless they are blind 
men lost on the sea. I have seen her. Have you seen her, 
too, O Haji Wasub?" 

"Am I a fat white man?" snapped the serang. "I was a 
man of the sea before you were bom, O Sali! The order is 
to keep silence and mind the rudder, lest evil befall the ship." 

After these words he resumed his rigid aloofness. He 
stood, his legs slightly apart, very stiff and straight, a 


little on one side of the compass stand. His eyes travelled 
incessantly from the illuminated card to the shadowy sails 
of the brig and back again, while his body was motionless 
as if made of wood and built into the ship's frame. Thus, 
with a forced and tense watchfulness, Haji Wa^ub, serang 
of the brig Lightning, kept the captain's watch unwearied 
and wakeful, a slave to duty. 

In half an hour after sunset the darkness had taken com- 
plete possession of earth and heavens. The islands had 
melted into the night. And on the smooth water of the 
Straits, the little brig lying so still, seemed to sleep pro- 
foundly, wrapped up in a scented mantle of starlight and 


IT WAS half-past eight o'clock before Lingard came on 
deck again. Shaw — now with a coat on — trotted up and 
down the poop leaving behind him a smell of tobacco 
smoke. An irregularly glowing spark seemed to run by itself 
in the darkness before the rounded form of his head. Above 
the masts of the brig the dome of the clear heaven was full 
of Ughts that flickered, as if some mighty breathings high 
up there had been swaying about the flame of the stars. 
There was no sound along the brig's decks, and the 
hea\'y shadows that lay on it had the aspect, in that 
silence, of secret places concealing crouching forms that 
waited in perfect stillness for some decisive event. Lingard 
struck a match to Ught his cheroot, and his powerful 
face with narrowed eyes stood out for a moment in the 
night and vanished suddenly. Then two shadowy forms 
and two red sparks moved backward and forward on the 
poop. A larger,, but a paler and oval patch of light from 
the compass lamps lay on the brasses of the wheel and on 
the breast of the Malay standing by the helm. Lingard's 
voice, as if unable altogether to master the enormous silence 
of the sea, sounded muffled, very calm — without the usual 
deep ring in it. 

"Not much change, Shaw," he said. 

"No, sir, not much. I can just see the island — the big 
one, still in the same place. It strikes me, sir, that, for calms, 
this here sea is a devil of loc-ality." 

He cut "Locality" in two with an emphatic pause. It 
was a good word. He was pleased with himself for thinking 
of it. He went on again : 

"Now — since noon, this big island "' 

"Carimata, Shaw," interrupted Lingard. 



"Aye, sir; Carimata — I mean. I must say — ^being a 
stranger hereabouts— I haven't got the run of those " 

He was going to say "names" but checked himself and 
said, "Appellations," instead, sounding every syllable lov- 

^ "Having for these last fifteen years," he continued, 
"sailed regularly from London in East-Indiamen, I am more 
at home over there — in the Bay." 

He pointed into the night towards the northwest and stared 
as if he could see from where he stood that Bay of Bengal 
where — as he affirmed — he would be so much more at home. 

"You'll soon get used " muttered Lingard, swinging in 

his rapid walk past his mate. Then he turned round, came 
back and asked sharply: 

"You said there was nothing afloat in sight before dark? 

"Not that I could see, sir. When I took the deck again 
at eight, I asked that serang whether there was anything 
about; and I understood him to say there was no more as 
when I went below at six. This is a lonely sea at times — 
ain't it, sir? Now, one would think at this time of the year 
the homeward-bounders from China would be pretty thick 

"Yes," said Lingard, "we have met very few ships since 
we left Pedra Branca over the stern. Yes; it has been a 
lonely sea. But for all that, Shaw, this sea, if lonely, is not 
blind. Every island in it is an eye. And now, since our 
squadron has left for the China waters " 

He did not finish his sentence. Shaw put his hands in his 
pockets, and propped his back against the skyhght, com- 

"They say there is going to be a war with China," he said 
in a gossiping tone, "and the French are going along with us 
as they did in the Crimea five years ago. It seems to me 
we're getting mighty good friends with the French. I've not 
much of an opinion about that. What do you think. Captain 

"I have met their men-of-war in the Pacific," said Lingard 


slowly. "The ships were fine and the fellows in them were 
civil enough to me — and very curious about my business, 
he added with a laugh. "However, I wasn't there to make 
war on themi I had a rotten old cutter then, for trade, 
Shaw," he went on with animation. 

"Had you, sir?" said Shaw without any enthusiasm. 
"Now give me a big ship — a ship, I say, that one may " 

"And later on, some years ago," interrupted Lingard, "I 
chummed with a French skipper in Ampanam — being the 
only two white men in the whole place. He was a good fel- 
low, and free with his red wine. His EngUsh was difficult to 
understand, but he could sing songs in his own language 
about ah-moor — ^Ah-moor means love, in French — Shaw." 

" So it does, sir — so it does. When I was second mate of a 
Sunderland barque, in forty-one, in the Mediterranean, I 
coiJd pay out their lingo as easy as you would a five-inch 
warp over a ship's side " 

"Yes, he was a proper man," pursued Lingard, medita- 
tively, as if for himself only. "You could not find a better 
fellow for company ashore. He had an affair with a Bali girl, 
who one evening threw a red blossom at him from within a 
doorway, as we were going together to pay our respects to the 
Rajah's nephew. He was a good-looking Frenchman, he was 
— ^but the girl belonged to the Rajah's nephew, and it was a 
serious matter. The old Rajah got angry and said the girl 
must die. I don't think the nephew cared particularly to 
have her krissed; but the old fellow made a great fuss, and 
sent one of his own chief men to see the thing done — and the 
girl had enemies — her own relations approved ! We could do 
nothing. Mind, Shaw, there was absolutely nothing else be- 
tween them but that unlucky flower which the Frenchman 
pinned to his coat — and afterwards, when the girl was dead, 
wore under his shirt, hung roimd his neck in a small box. I 
suppose he had nothing else to put it into." 

"Would those savages kill a woman for that?" asked 
Shaw, incredulously. 

"Aye! They are pretty moral there. That was the first 
time in my life I nearly went to war on my own account. 


Shaw. We couldn't talk those fellows over. We couldn't 
bribe them, though the Frenchman offered the best he had, 
and I was ready to back him to the last dollar, to the last 
rag of cotton, Shaw! No use — they were that blamed re- 
spectable. So, says the Frenchman to me: 'My friend, if 
they won't take our gunpowder for a gift let us burn it to 
give them lead.' I was armed as you see now; six eight- 
pounders on the main deck and a long eighteen on the fore- 
castle — and I wanted to try 'em. You may beheve me! 
However, the Frenchman had nothing but a few old muskets; 
and the beggars got to windward of us by fair words, till 
one morning a boat's crew from the Frenchman's ship found 
the girl lying dead on the beach. That put an end to our 
plans. She was out of her trouble anyhow, and no reasonable 
man will fight for a dead woman. I was never vengeful, 
Shaw, and — after all — she didn't throw that flower at me. 
But it broke the Frenchman up altogether. He began to 
mope, did no business, and shortly afterwards sailed away. 
I cleared a good many pence out of that trip, I remember." 

With these words he seemed to come to the end of his memo- 
ries of that trip. Shaw stifled a yawn. 

"Women are the cause of a lot of trouble," he said, dis- 
passionately. "In the Morayshire, I remember, we had once 
a passenger — an old gentleman — who was telling us a yam 
about them old-time Greeks fighting for ten years about some 
woman. The Turks kidnapped her, or something. Any- 
way, they fought in Turkey; which I may well believe. 
Them Greeks and Turks were always fighting. My father 
was master's mate on board one of the three-deckers at the 
battle of Navarino — and that was when we went to help 
those Greeks. But this affair about a woman was long before 
that time." 

"I should think so," muttered Lingard, hanging over 
the rail, and watching the fleeting gleams that passed deep 
down in the water, along the ship's bottom. 

"Yes. Times are changed. They were unenlightened in 
those old days. My grandfather was a preacher and, 
though my father served in the navy, I don't hold with war. 


Sinful, the old gentleman called it — and I think so, too. 
Unless with Chinamen, or niggers, or such people as must be 
kept in order and won't listen to reason; having not sense 
enough to know what's good for them, when it's explained to 
them by their betters — missionaries, and such like au-tho- 
ri-ties. But to fight ten years. And for a woman ! " 

"I have read the tale in a book," said Lingard, speaking 
down over the side as if setting his word gently afloat upon 
the sea. "I have read the tale. She was very beautiful." 

"That only makes it worse, sir — if anything. You may 
depend on it she was no good. Those pagan times will never 
come back, thank God. Ten years of murder and unright- 
eousness! And for a woman! Would anybody do it now.'' 
Would you do it, sir? Would you " 

The sound of a bell struck sharply interrupted Shaw's 
discourse. High aloft, some dry block sent out a screech, 
short and lamentable, like a cry of pain. It pierced the 
quietness of the night to the very core, and seemed to destroy 
the reserve which it had imposed upon the tones of the two 
men, who spoke now loudly. 

"Throw the cover over the binnacle," said Lingard in his 
duty voice. "The thing shines like a full moon. We mustn't 
show more lights than we can help, when becalmed at night so 
near the land. No use in being seen if you can't see yourself 
— is there! Bear that in mind, Mr. Shaw. There may be 
some vagabonds prying about " 

"I thought all this was over and done for," said Shaw, 
busying himself with the cover, "since Sir Thomas Cochrane 
swept along the Borneo coast with his squadron some years 
ago. He did a rare lot of fighting — didn't he? We heard 
about it from the chaps of the sloop Diana that was refitting 
in Calcutta when I was there in the Warvnck Castle. They 
took some king's town up a river hereabouts. The chaps 
were full of it." 

"Sir Thomas did good work," answered Lingard, "but it 
will be a long time before these seas are as safe as the Enghsh 
Channel is in peace time. I spoke about that light more to 
get you in the way of things to be attended to in these seas 


than for anything else. Did you notice how few native 
craft we've sighted for all these days we have been drifting 
about — one may say — in this sea? " 

"I can't say I have attached any significance to the fact, 

"It's a sign that something is up. Once set a rumour afloat 
in these waters, and it will make its way from island to 
island, without any breeze to drive it along." 

"Being myself a deep-water man sailing steadily out of 
home ports nearly all my life," said Shaw with great delibera- 
tion, "I cannot pretend to see through the pec-uUarities of 
them out-of-the-way parts. But I can keep a lookout in an 
ordinary way, and I have noticed that craft of any kind 
seemed scarce, for the last few days : considering that we had 
land aboard of us — one side or another — nearly every day." 

"You will get to know the peculiarities, as you call them, 
if you remain any time with me," remarked Lingard, negli- 

"I hope I shall give satisfaction, whether the time be long 
or short!" said Shaw, accentuating the meaning of his words 
by the distinctness of his utterance. "A man who has spent 
thirty-two years of his life on salt-water can say no more. If, 
being an officer of home ships for the last fifteen years, I don't 
understand the heathen ways of them there savages, in mat- 
ters of seamanship and duty, you will find me all there. Cap- 
tain Lingard." 

"Except, judging from what you said a little while ago — 
except in the matter of fighting," said Lingard, with a short 

"Fighting! I am not aware that anybody wants to fight 
me. I am a peaceable man, Captain Lingard, but when put 
to it, I could fight as well as any of them flat-nosed chaps 
we have to make shift with, instead of a proper crew of decent 
Christians. Fighting!" he went on with unexpected pug- 
nacity of tone, "Fighting! If anybody comes to fight me, 
he will find me all there, I swear ! " 

"That's all right. That's all right," said Lingard, stretch- 
ing his arms above his head and wriggling his shoulders. 


"My word- I do wish a breeze would come to let us get 
away from here. I am rather in a hurry, Shaw." 

"Indeed, sir! Well, I never yet met a thorough seafaring 
man who was not in a hurry when a con-demned spell of calm 
had him by the heels. AVhen a breeze comes . . ■ just 
listen to this, sir!" 

"I hear it," said Lingard. "Tide-rip, Shaw." 

"So I presume, sir. But what a fuss it makes. Seldom 
heard such a " 

On the sea, upon the furthest limits of vision, appeared an 
advancing streak of seething foam, resembling a narrow white 
ribbon, drawn rapidly along the level surface of the water 
by its two ends, which were lost in the darkness. It 
reached the brig, passed under, stretching out on each side; 
and on each side the water became noisy, breaking into 
numerous and tiny wavelets, a mimicry of an immense agita- 
tion. Yet the vessel in the midst of this sudden and loud 
disturbance remained as motionless and steady as if she 
had been securely moored between the stone walls of a safe 
dock. In a few moments the hne of foam and ripple running 
swiftly north passed at once beyond sight and earshot, leav- 
ing no trace on the unconquerable calm. 

"Now this is very curious " began Shaw. 

Lingard made a gesture to command silence. He seemed 
to Hsten yet, as if the wash of the ripple could have had an 
echo which he expected to hear. And a man's voice that 
was heard forward had something of the impersonal ring of 
voices thrown back from hard and lofty cliffs upwn the empty 
distances of the sea. ^•It spoke in Malay — faintly. 

"What?" hailed Shaw. "What is it.?" 

Lingard put a restraining hand for a moment on his 
chief officer's shoulder, and moved forward smartly. Shaw 
followed, puzzled. The rapid exchange of incomprehen- 
sible words thrown backward and forward through the 
shadows of the brig's main deck from his captain to the 
lookout man and back again, made him feel sadly out of it, 

Lingard had called out sharply — "What do you see? " 


The answer direct and quick was — " I hear, Tuan. I hear 


" The night is all around us. I hear them near." 

"Port or starboard?" 

There was a short delay in answer this time. On the 
quarter-deck, under the poop, bare feet shuffled. Somebody 
coughed. At last the voice forward said doubtfully: 


"Call the serang, Mr. Shaw," said Lingard, calmly, "and 
have the hands turned up. They are all lying about the 
decks. Look sharp now. There's something near us. It's 
annoying to be caught like this," he added in a vexed tone. 

He crossed over to the starboard side, and stood listening, 
one hand grasping the royal back-stay, his ear tiu-ned to the 
sea, but he could hear nothing from there. The quarter-deck 
was filled with subdued sounds. Suddenly, a long, shrill 
whistle soared, reverberated loudly amongst the flat surfaces 
of motionless sails, and gradually grew faint as if the sound 
had escaped and gone away, running upon the water. Haji 
Wasub was on deck and ready to carry out the white man's 
commands. Then silence fell again on the brig, until Shaw 
spoke quietly. 

"I am going forward now, sir, with the tindal. We're all 
at stations." 

"Aye, Mr. Shaw. Very good. Mind they don't board 
you — ^but I can hear nothing. Not a sound. It can't be 

"The fellow has been dreaming, no doubt. I have good 
ears, too, and " 

He went forward and the end of his sentence was lost in an 
indistinct growl. Lingard stood attentive. One by one the 
three seacannies off duty appeared on the poop and busied 
themselves aroimd a big chest that stood by the side of the 
cabin companion. A rattle and clink of steel weapons turned 
out on the deck was heard, but the men did not even whisper. 
Lingard peered steadily into the night, then shook his head. 

" Serang / " he called, half aloud. 


The spare old man ran up the ladder so smartly that his 
bony feet did not seem to touch the steps. He stood by his 
commander, his hands behind his back; a figure indistinct 
but straight as an arrow. 

"Who was looking out.' " asked Lingard. 

"Badroon, the Bugis," said Wasub, in his crisp, jerky 

"I can hear nothing. Badroon heard the noise in his 

"The night hides the boat." 

"Have you seen it.?" 

"Yes, Tuan. Small boat. Before sunset. By the land. 
Now coming here — near. Badroon heard him." 

"Why didn't you report it, then? " asked Lingard, sharply. 

"Malim spoke. He said: Nothing there, while I could 
see. How could I know what was in his mind or yours, 

"Do you hear anything now.' " 

"No. They stopped now. Perhaps lost the ship — who 
knows. Perhaps afraid " 

"Well!" muttered Lingard, moving his feet uneasily. 
"I believe you lie. What kind of boat? " 

"White men's boat. A four-men boat, I think. Small. 
TMfflre, I hear him now ! There!" 

He stretched his arm straight out, pointing abeam for a 
time, then his arm fell slowly. 

"Coming this way," he added with decision. 

From forward Shaw called out in a startled tone : 

"Something on the water, sir! Broad on this bow I " 

"All right!" called back Lingard. 

A lump of blacker darkness floated into his view. From 
it came over the water English words — deliberate, reaching 
him one by one; as if each had made its own dilEcult way 
through the prof oimd stillness of the night. 

"What— ship— is— that? Pray?" 

"English brig," answered Lingard, after a short moment 
of hesitation. 

"A brig! I thought you were something bigger," went 


on the voice from the sea with a tinge of disappointment in 
its deliberate tone. "I am coming alongside — ^if — ^you — 

"No! you don't!" called Lingard back, sharply. The 
leisurely drawl of the invisible speaker seemed to him of- 
fensive, and woke up a hostile feehng. "No! you don't if 
you care for your boat. Where do you spring from? Who 
are you — anyhow.? How many of yon are there in that 

After these emphatic questions there was an interval of 
silence. During that time the shape of the boat became a 
little more distinct. She must have carried some way 
on her yet, for she loomed up bigger and nearly abreast of 
where Lingard stood, before the self-possessed voice was 
heard again. 

"I will show you." 

Then, after another short pause, the voice said, less loud 
but very plain: 

"Strike on the gunwale. Strike hard, John!" and sud- 
denly a blue light blazed out, illuminating with a livid flame 
a round patch in the night. In the smoke and splutter of 
that ghastly halo appeared a white, four-oared gig, with five 
men sitting in her in a row. Their heads were turned towards 
the brig with a strong expression of curiosity on their faces, 
which, in this glare, brilliant and sinister, took on a death- 
like aspect and resembled the faces of interested corpses. 
Then the bowman dropped into the water the light he held 
above his head and the darkness, rushing back at the boat, 
swallowed it with a loud and angry hiss. 

"Five of us," said the composed voice out of the night 
that seemed now darker than before. "Four hands and 
myself. We belong to a yacht — a British yacht " 

"Come on board!" shouted Lingard, "why didn't you 
speak at once.'' I thought you might have been some mas- 
querading Dutchmen from a dodging gunboat." 

"Do I speak like a blamed Dutchman.!* Pull a stroke, 
boys — oars ! Tend bow, John." 

The boat came alongside with a gentle knock, and a man's 


shape began to climb at once up the brig's side with a kind of 
ponderous agility. It poised itself for a moment on the rail 
to say down into the boat — "Sheer off a little, boys," 
then jumped on deck with a thud, and said to Shaw who 
was coming aft: "Good evening. Captain, sir.?"' 

"No. On the poop ! " growled Shaw. 

"Come up here. Come up," called Lingard, impatiently. 

The Malays had left their stations and stood clustered by 
the mainmast in a silent group. Not a word was spoken on 
the brig's decks, while the stranger made his way to the wait- 
ing Captain. Lingard saw approaching him a short, dapper 
man, who touched his cap and repeated his greeting in a cool 

"Good evening — Captain, sir?" 

"Yes, I am the master — what's the matter? Adrift from 
your ship? Or what?" 

"Adrift? No! We left her four days ago, and have been 
pulUng that gig in a calm, nearly ever since. My men are 
done. So is the water. Lucky thing I sighted you." 

"You sighted me!" exclaimed Lingard. "When? What 

"Not in the dark, you may be sure. We've been knocking 
about amongst some islands to the southward, breaking 
our hearts tugging at the oars in one channel, then in an- 
other — trying to get clear. We got round an islet — a barren 
thing, in shape like a loaf of sugar — and I caught sight of a 
vessel a long way off. I took her bearing in a hurry and 
we buckled to; but another of them currents must have had 
hold of us, for it was a long time before we managed to clear 
that islet. I steered by the stars, and, by the lord Harry, I 
began to think I had missed you somehow — because it must 
have been you I saw." 

"Yes, it must have been. We had nothing in sight all 
day," assented Lingard. "Where's your vessel?" he asked, 

"Hard and fast on middling soft mud — I should think 
about sixty miles from here. We are the second boat sent 
off for assistance. We parted company on Tuesday. She 


must have passed to the northward of you to-day. The chief 
officer is in her with orders to make for Singapore. I am 
second, and was sent off towards the Straits here on the 
chance of falling in with some ship. I have a letter from the 
owner. Our gentry are tired of being stuck in the mud and 
wish for assistance." 

"What assistance did you expect to find down here?" 

"The letter will tell you that. May I ask. Captain, for 
a little water for the chaps in my boat? And I myself would 
thank you for a drink. We haven't had a mouthful since 
this afternoon. Our breaker leaked out somehow." 

"See to it, Mr. Shaw," said Lingard. "Come down the 
cabin, Mr " 

"Carter is my name." 

"Ah! Mr. Carter. Come down, come down," went on 
Lingard, leading the way down the cabin stairs. 

The steward had lighted the swinging lamp, and had put a 
decanter and bottles on the table. The cuddy looked cheer- 
ful, painted white, with gold mouldings round the panels. 
Opposite the curtained recess of the stern windows there was 
a sideboard with a marble top, and, above it, a looking-glass 
in a gilt frame. The semi-circular couch round the stern 
had cushions of crimson plush. The table was covered with 
a black Indian tablecloth embroidered in vivid colours. Be- 
tween the beams of the poop-deck were fitted racks for mus- 
kets, the barrels of which glinted in the light. There were 
twenty-four of them between the four beams. As many 
sword-bayonets of an old pattern encircled the polished teak- 
wood of the rudder-casing by a double belt of brass and steel. 
All the doors of the state-rooms had been taken off the hinges 
and only curtains closed the doorways. They seemed to be 
made of yellow Chinese silk, and fluttered altogether, the 
four of them, as the two men entered the cuddy. 

Carter took in all at a glance, but his eyes were arrested 
by a circular shield hung slanting above the brass hilts of the 
bayonets. On its red field, in relief and brightly gilt, was 
represented a sheaf of conventional thunderbolts darting 
down the middle between the two capitals T. L. Lingard 


examined his guest curiously. He saw a young man, but 
looking still more youthful, with a boyish smooth face much 
sunburnt, twinkling blue eyes, fair hair and a slight mous- 
tache. He noticed his arrested gaze. 

"Ah, you're looking at that thing. It's a present from the 
builder of this brig. The best man that ever launched a craft. 
It's supposed to be the ship's name between my initials — 
flash of lightning — d'you see? The brig's name is Lightning 
and mine is Lingard." 

"Very pretty thing that: shows the cabin off well," mur- 
mured Carter, politely. 

They drank, nodding at each other, and sat down. 

"Now for the letter," said Lingard. 

Carter passed it over the table and looked about, while 
Lingard took the letter out of an open envelope, addressed 
to the commander of any British ship in the Java Sea. The 
paper was thick, had an embossed heading: "Schooner-yacht 
Hermit" and was dated four days before. The message said 
that on a hazy night the yacht had gone ashore upon some 
outlying shoals oS the coast of Borneo. The land was low. 
The opinion of the sailing-master was that the vessel had gone 
ashore at the top of high water, Spring tides. The coast was 
completely deserted to all appearanc^. During the four days 
they had been stranded there they had sighted in the dis- 
tance two small native vessels, which did not approach. The 
owner concluded by asking any commander of a homeward- 
bound ship to report the yacht's position in Anjer on his way 
through Sunda Straits — or to any British or Dutch man-of- 
war he might meet. The letter ended by anticipatory 
thanks, the offer to pay any expenses in connection with the 
sending of messages from Anjer, and the usual polite ex- 

Folding the paper slowly in the old creases, Lingard said — 
"I am not going to Anjer — nor anywhere near." 

"Any place will do, I fancy," said Carter. 

"Not the place where I am bound to," answered Lingard, 
opening the letter again and glancing at it uneasily. "He 
does not describe very well the coast, and his latitude is very 


uncertain," he went on. "I am not clear in my mind where 
exactly you are stranded. , And yet I know every inch of that 
land — over there." 

Carter cleared his throat and began to talk in his slow 
drawl. He seemed to dole out facts, to disclose with sparing 
words the features of the coast, but every word showed the 
minuteness of his observation, the clear vision of a seaman 
able to master quickly the aspect of a strange land and 
of a strange sea. He presented, with concise lucidity, the 
picture of the tangle of reefs and sandbanks, through which 
the yacht had miraculously blundered in the dark before she 
took the ground. 

' "The weather seems clear enough at sea," he observed, 
finally, and stopped to drink a long draught. Lingard, bend- 
ing over the table, had been listening with eager attention. 
Carter went on in his curt and deliberate manner: 

"I noticed some high trees on what I take to be the main- 
land to the south — and whoever has business in that bight 
was smart enough to whitewash two of them: one on the 
point, and another farther in. Landmarks, I guess. . 
What's the matter. Captain?" 

Lingard had jumped to his feet, but Carter's exclamation 
caused him to sit down again. 

"Nothing, nothing . . . Tell me, how many men 
have you in that yacht?" 

"Twenty-three, besides the gentry, the owner, his wife and 
a Spanish gentleman — ^a friend they picked up in Manila." 
"So you were coming from Manila?" 
"Aye. Bound for Batavia. The owner wishes to study 
the Dutch colonial system. Wants to expose it, he says. 
One can't help hearing a lot when keeping watch aft — ^you 
know how it is. Then we are going to Ceylon to meet the 
mail-boat there. The owner is going home as he came out, 
overland through Egypt. The yacht would return rotmd 
the Cape, of course." 

"A lady?" said Lingard. "You say there is a lady on- 
board . Are you armed ? ' ' 

"Not much," rephed Carter, negligently. "There are a 


few muskets and two sporting guns aft; that's about all — 
I fancy it's too much, or not enough," he added with a faint 

Lingard looked at him narrowly. 

"Did you come out from home in that craft?" he asked. 

"Not I! I am not one of them regular yacht hands. I 
came out of the hospital in Hongkong. I've been two years 
on the China coast." 

He stopped, then added in an explanatory murmur : 

"Opium chppers — ^you know. Nothing of brass buttons 
about me. My ship left me behind, and I was in want 
of work. I took this job but I didn't want to go home 
particularly. It's slow work after sailing with old Robert- 
son in the Ly-eemoon. That was my ship. Heard of her. 

"Yes, yes," said Lingard, hastily. "Look here, Mr. Carter, 
which way was yovu- chief officer trying for Singapore? 
Through the Straits of Rhio?" 

"I suppose so," answered Carter in a slightly surprised 
tone; "why do you ask? '" 

"Just to know . . . Whatisit, Mr. Shaw?" 

"There's a black cloud rising to the northward, sir, and 
we shall get a breeze directly," said Shaw from the doorway. 

He lingered there with his eyes fixed on the decanters. 

"Will you have a glass?" said Lingard, leaving his seat. 
"I will go up and have a look." 

He went on deck. Shaw approached the table and began 
to help himself, handling the bottles in profoimd silence and 
with exaggerated caution, as if he had been measuring out 
of fragile vessels a dose of some deadly poison. Carter, his 
hands in his pockets, and leaning back, examined him from 
head to foot with a cool stare. The mate of the brig raised 
the glass to his lips, and glaring above the rim at the stranger, 
drained the contents slowly. 

"You have a fine nose for finding ships in the dark, Mis- 
ter," he said, distinctly, putting the glass on the table mth 
extreme gentleness. 

"Eh? What's that? I sighted you just after sunset." 


"And you knew where to look, too," said Shaw, staring 

"I looked to the westward where there was still some 
hght, as any sensible man would do," retorted the other a 
Kttle impatiently. "What are you trying to get at?" 

"And you have a ready tongue to blow about yourself — 
haven't you?" 

"Never saw such a man in my life," declared Carter, with a 
return of his nonchalant manner. "You seem to be troubled 
about something." 

"I don't like boats to come sneaking up from nowhere in 
particular, alongside a ship when I am in charge of the deck. 
I can keep a lookout as well as any man out of home ports, 
but I hate to be circumvented by muffled oars and such un- 
gentlemanlike tricks. Yacht officer — indeed. These seas 
must be full of such yachtsmen. I consider you played a 
mean trick on me. I told my old man there was nothing In 
sight at sunset — and no more there was. I believe you 
blundered upon us by chance — ^for all your boasting about 
sunsets and bearings. Gammon! I know you came on 
blindly on top of us, and with muffled oars, too. D'ye call 
that decent?" 

" If I did muffle the oars it was for a good reason. I wanted 
to slip past a cove where some native craft were moored. 
That was common prudence in such a small boat, and not 
armed — as I am. I saw you right enough, but I had no 
intention to startle anybody. Take my word for it." 

" I wish you had gone somewhere else," growled Shaw. " I 
hate to be put in the wrong through acc-cident and untruth- 
fulness — there ! Here's my old man calling me " 

He left the cabin hurriedly and soon afterwards Lingard 
came down, and sat again facing Carter across the table. 
His face was grave but resolute. 

"We shall get the breeze directly," he said. 

"Then, sir," said Carter, getting up, "if you will give 
me back that letter I shall go on cruising about here to speak 
some other ship. I trust you will report us wherever you are 


"I am going to the yacht and I shall keep the letter," 
answered Lingard with decision. "I know exactly where 
she is, and I must go to the rescue of those people. It's 
most fortunate you've fallen in with me, Mr. Carter. For- 
timate for them and fortunate for me," he added in a lower 

"Yes," drawled Carter, reflectively. "There may be a 
tidy bit of salvage money if you should get the vessel off, 
but I don't think you can do much. I had better stay out 
here and try to speak some gunboat " 

"You must come back to your ship with me," said Lingard, 
authoritatively. "Never mind the gunboats." 

"That wouldn't be carrying out my orders," argued 
Carter. "I've got to speak a homeward-bound ship or a 
man-of-war — that's plain enough. I am not anxious to 
knock about for days in an open boat, but — let me fill my 
fresh-water breaker, Captain, and I will be off." 

"Nonsense," said Lingard, sharply. "You've got to come 
with me to show the place and — and help. I'll take your 
boat in tow." 

Carter did not seem convinced. Lingard laid a heavy hand 
on his shoulder. 

"Look here, young fellow. I am Tom Lingard and there's 
not a white man among these islands, and very few natives, 
that have not heard of me. My luck brought you into my 
ship — and now I've got you, you must stay. You must!" 

The last "must" burst out loud and sharp like a pistol- 
shot. Carter stepped back. 

"Do you mean you would keep me by force?" he asked, 

"Force," repeated Lingard. "It rests with you. I cannot 
let you speak any vessel. Your yacht has gone ashore in a 
most inconvenient place — for me; and with your boats sent 
off here and there, you would bring every infernal gunboat 
buzzing to a spot that was as quiet and retired as the heart of 
man could wish. You stranding just on that spot of the whole 
coast was my bad luck. And that I could not help. You 
coming upon me like this is my good luck. And that I hold ! " 


^ He dropped his clenched fist, big and muscular, in the 
light of the lamp on the black cloth, amongst the ghtter of 
glasses, with the strong fingers closed tight upon the firm 
flesh of the palm. He left it there for a moment as if 
showing Carter that luck he was going to hold. And he 
went on: 

"Do you know into what hornet's nest your stupid people 
have blundered? How much d'ye think their lives are worth, 
just now? Not a brass farthing if the breeze fails me for 
another twenty-four hours. You may well open your eyes. 
It is so ! And it may be too late now, while I am arguing 
with you here." 

He tapped the table with his knuckles, and the glasses, 
waking up, jingled a thin, plaintive finale to his speech. 
Carter stood leaning against the sideboard. He was amazed 
by the unexpected turn of the conversation; his jaw dropped 
slightly and his eyes never swerved for a moment from Lin- 
gard's face. The silence in the cabin lasted only a few sec- 
onds, but to Carter, who waited breathlessly, it seemed very 
long. And all at once he heard in it, for the first time, the 
cabin clock tick distinctly, in pulsating beats, as though a 
little heart of metal behind the dial had been started into 
sudden palpitation. 

"A gunboat!" shouted Lingard, suddenly, as if he had seen 
only in that moment, by the light of some vivid fiash of 
thought, all the difficulties of the situation. "If you don't 
go back with me there will be nothing left for you to go back 
to — very soon. Your gunboat won't find a single ship's rib 
or a single corpse left for a landmark. That she won't. It 
isn't a gunboat skipper you want. I am the man you want. 
You don't know your luck when you see it, but I know mine, 
I do — and — ^look here " 

He touched Carter's chest with his forefinger, and said with 
a sudden gentleness of tone : 

"I am a white man inside and out; I won't let inoffensive 
people — and a woman, too — come to harm if I can help it. 
And if I can't help, nobody can. You understand — ^no- 
body! There's no time for it. But I am like any other 


man that is worth his salt: I won't let the end of an undertak- 
ing go by the board while there is a chance to hold on — and 
it's like this " 

His voice was persuasive — almost caressing; he had hold 
now of a coat button and tugged at it slightly as he went on 
in a confidential manner: 

"As it turns out, Mr. Carter, I would — in a manner of 
speaking — I would as soon shoot you where you stand as 
let you go to raise an alarm all over this sea about your 
confounded yacht. I have other lives to consider — and 
friends — and promises — and — and myself, too. I shall keep 
you," he concluded, sharply. 

Carter drew a long breath. On the deck above, the two 
men could hear soft footfalls, short murmurs, indistinct words 
spoken near the skylight. Shaw's voice rang out loudly in 
growling tones. 

" Furl the royals, you tindal !" 

"It's the queerest old go," muttered Carter, looking down, 
on to the floor. " You are a strange man. I suppose I must 
believe what you say — imless you and that fat mate of 
yours are a couple of escaped lunatics that got hold of a brig 
by some means. Why, that chap up there wanted to 
pick a quarrel with me for coming aboard, and now you 
threaten to shoot me rather than let me go. Not that I 
care much about that; for some time or other you would get 
hanged for it; and you don't look like a man that will end 
that way. If what you say is only half true, I ought to get 
back to the yacht as quick as ever I can. It strikes me that 
your coming to them will be only a small mercy, anyhow — 

and I may be of some use But this is the queerest. . . . 

'May I go in my boat.'' " 

"As you like," said Lingard. "There's a rain squall 

"I am in charge and will get wet along of my chaps. 
Give us a good long line. Captain." 

"It's done already," said Lingard. "You seem a sensible 
sailorman and can see that it would be useless to try and give 
me the slip." 


"For a man so ready to shoot, you seem very trustful," 
drawled Carter. "If I cut adrift in a squall, I stand a pretty 
fair chance not to see you again." 

"You just try," said Lingard, drily. "I have eyes in this 
brig, young man, that will see your boat when you couldn't 
see the ship. You are of the kind I like, but if you monkey 
with me I will find you — and when I find you I will run you 
down as surely as I stand here." 

Carter slapped his thigh and his eyes twinkled. 

"By the lord Harry!" he cried. "K it wasn't for the 
men mth me, I would try for sport. You are so cocksure 
about the lot you can do. Captain. You would aggravate a 
saint into open mutiny." 

His easy good humour had returned; but after a short burst 
of laughter, he became serious. 

"Never fear," he said, "I won't slip away. If there is 
to be any throat-cutting — as you seem to hint — mine will 
be there, too, I promise you, and. . . ." 

He stretched his arms out, glanced at them, shook them a 

"And this pair of arms to take care of it," he added, in his 
old, careless drawl. 

But the master of the brig sitting with both his elbows on 
the table, his face in his hands, had fallen unexpectedly into 
a meditation so concentrated and so profound that he seemed 
neither to hear, see, nor breathe. The sight of that man's 
complete absorption in thought was to Carter almost more 
surprising than any other occurrence of that night. Had his 
strange host vanished suddenly from before his eyes, it could 
not have made him feel more uncomfortably alone in that 
cabin where the pertinacious clock kept ticking off the useless 
minutes of the calm before it would, with the same steady 
beat, begin to measure the aimless disturbance of the storm. 


A ITER waiting a moment, Carter went on deck. The 
Z\ sky, the sea, the brig itself had disappeared in a dark- 
X A. ness that had become impenetrable, palpable and 
stifling. An immense cloud had come up running over the 
heavens, as if looking for the little craft, and now hung over 
it, arrested. To the south there was a livid trembling gleam, 
faint and sad, like a vanishing memory of destroyed starlight. 
To the north, as if to prove the impossible, an incredibly 
blacker patch outlined on the tremendous blackness of the 
sky the heart of the coming squall. The glimmers in the 
water had gone out and the invisible sea aU around lay 
mute and still as if it had died suddenly of fright. 

Carter could see nothing. He felt about him people 
moving; he heard them in the darkness whispering faintly 
as if they had been exchanging secrets important or infa- 
mous. The night effaced even words, and its mystery had 
captured everything and every sound — ^had left nothing free 
but the unexpected that seemed to hover about one, ready to 
stretch out its stealthy hand in a touch sudden, familiar and 
appalling. Even the careless disposition of the young ex- 
officer of an opium-clipper was affected by the ominous as- 
pect of the hour. What was this vessel? What were those 
people? What would happen to-morrow? To the yacht? 
[To himself? He felt suddenly without any additional reason 
Ibut the darkness that it was a poor show, anyhow, a dashed 
poor show for all hands. The irrational conviction made 
him falter for a second where he stood and he gripped the slide 
tf the companionway hard. 

Shaw's voice right close to his ear relieved and cleared 
his troubled thoughts. 

"Oh! it's you. Mister. Come up at last," said the male of 



the brig slowly. "It appears we've got to give you a tow 
now. Of all the rum in-cidents, this beats all. A boat 
sneaks up from nowhere and turns out to be a long-expected 
friend! For you are one of them friends the skipper was 
going to meet somewhere here. Ain't you now? Come! 
I know more than you may think. Are we oflF to — ^you may 
just as well tell — off to — ^h'mha . . . you know?" 

"Yes. I know. Don't you?" articulated Carter, inno- 

Shaw remained very quiet for a minute. 

"Where's my skipper? " he asked at last. 

"I left him down below in a kind of trance. Where's my 

"Your boat is hanging astern. And my opinion is that 
you are as imcivil as I've proved you to be untruthful. 

Carter stumbled towards the taffrail and in the first step he 
made came full against somebody who glided away. It 
seemed to him that such a night brings men to a lower 
level. He thought that he might have been knocked on the 
head by anybody strong enough to lift a crow-bar. He felt 
strangely irritated. He said loudly, aiming his words at 
Shaw whom he supposed somewhere near: 

"And my opinion is that you and your skipper will come 
to a sudden bad end before " 

"I thought you were in your boat. Have you changed 
your mind? " asked Lingard in his deep voice close to Carter's 

Carter felt his way along the rail, till his hand found a line 
that seemed, in the calm, to stream out of its own accord 
into the darkness. He hailed his boat, and directly heard 
the wash of water against her bows as she was hauled 
quickly under the counter. Then he loomed up shapeless 
on the rail, and the next moment disappeared as if he had 
fallen out of the universe. Lingard heard him say: 

" Catch hold of my leg, John." There were hollow soimds 
in the boat, a voice growled "All right." 

"Keep clear of the coimter," said Lingard, speaking in 


quiet warning tones into the night. "The brig may get a 
lot of stem way on her should this squall not strike her fairly." 

"Aye, aye. I will mind," was the muttered answer from 
the water. 

Lingard crossed over to the port side, and looked steadily 
at the sooty mass of approaching vapours. After a moment 
he said curtly — "Brace up for the port tack, Mr. Shaw," 
and remained silent, with his face to the sea. A sound, sor- 
rowful and starthng like the sigh of some immense creatm-e, 
travelling across the starless space, passed above the vertical 
and lofty spars of the motionless brig. 

It grew louder, then suddenly ceased for a moment, and 
the taut rigging of the brig was heard vibrating its answer 
in a singing note to this threatening murmur of the winds. 
A long and slow undulation lifted the level of the waters, as if 
the sea had drawn the deep breath of anxious suspense. The 
next minute an immense disturbance leaped out of the dark- 
ness upon the sea, kindling upon it a livid clearness of foam, 
and the first gust of the squall boarded the brig in a stinging 
flick of rain and spray. As if overwhelmed by the sudden- 
ness of the fierce onset, the vessel remained for a second 
upright where she floated, shaking with tremendous jerks 
from trucks to keel; while high up in the night the invisible 
canvas was heard rattling and beating about violently. 

Then, with a quick double report, as of heavy guns, both 
topsails filled at once and the brig fell over swiftly on her side. 
Shaw was thrown headlong against the skylight, and Lingard, 
who had encircled the weather rail with his arm, felt the ves- 
sel under his feet dart forward smoothly, and the deck become 
less slanting — the speed of the brig running off a little now, 
easing the overturning strain of the wind upon the distended 
surfaces of the sails. It was only the fineness of the little 
vessel's lines and the perfect shape of her hull that saved the 
canvas, and perhaps the spars, by enabling the ready craft 
to get way upon herself with such lightning-lilre rapidity. 
Lingard drew a long breath and yelled jubilantly at Sbaw 
who was struggling up against wind and rain to his com- 
mander's side. 


"She'll do. Hold on everything." 

Shaw tried to speak. He swallowed great mouthfuls of 
tepid water which the wind drove down his throat. The 
brig seemed to sail through undulating waves that passed 
swishing between the masts and swept over the decks with 
the fierce rush and noise of a cataract. From every spar and 
every rope a ragged sheet of water streamed flicking to 
leeward. The overpowering deluge seemed to last for an 
age; became unbearable— and, all at once, stopped. In a 
couple of minutes the shower had run its length over the 
brig and now could be seen like a straight gray wall, going 
away into the night under the fierce whispering of dissolving 
clouds. The wind eased. To the northward, low down in 
the darkness, three stars appeared in a row, leaping in and 
out between the crests of waves like the distant heads of 
swimmers in a running surf; and the retreating edge of the 
cloud, perfectly straight from east to west, slipped along 
the dome of the sky like an immense hemispheric, iron shutter 
pivoting down smoothly as if operated by some mighty engine. 
An inspiring and penetrating freshness flowed together with 
the shimmer of light, through the augmented glory of the 
heaven, a glory exalted, undimmed, and strangely startling 
as if a new imiverse had been created during the short flight 
of the stormy cloud. It was a return to life, a return to'l 
space; the earth coming out from under a pall to take its place/ K 
in the renewed and immense scintillation of the world. ~' 

The brig, her yards slightly checked in, ran with an easy 
motion under the topsails, jib and driver, pushing contempt- 
uously aside the turbulent crowd of noisy and agitated waves. 
As the craft went swiftly ahead she unrolled behind her over 
the uneasy darkness of the sea a broad ribbon of seething 
foam shot with wispy gleams of dark discs escaping from 
under the rudder. Far away astern, at the end of a fine 
no thicker than a black thread, which dipped now and then 
its long curve in the bursting froth, a toy-like object could 
be made out, elongated and dark, racing after the brig over 
the snowy whiteness of her wake. 

Lingard walked aft, and, with both his hands on the taff- 


rail, looked eagerly for Carter's boat. The first glance satis- 
fied him that the yacht's gig was towing easily at the end of 
the long scope of line, and he turned away to look ahead and 
to leeward with a steady gaze. It was then half an hour 
past midnight and Shaw, relieved by Wasub, had gone below. 
Before he went, he said to Lingard, "I will be off, sir, if 
you're not going to make more sail yet." "Not yet for a 
while," had answered Lingard in a preoccupied manner; and 
Shaw departed aggrieved at such a neglect of making the best 
of a good breeze. 

On the main deck dark-skinned men, whose clothing 
clung to their shivering limbs as if they had been over- 
board, had finished recoiling the braces, and clearing the gear. 
The kassab, after having hung the fore-topsail halyards in the 
becket, strutted into the waist towards a row of men who 
stood idly with their shoulders against the side of the long- 
boat amidships. He passed along looking up close at the 
stolid faces. Room was made for him, and he took his place 
at the end. 

"It was a great rain and a mighty wind, O men," he said, 
dogmatically, "but no wind can ever hurt this ship. That I 
knew while I stood minding the sail which is under my care." 

A dull and inexpressive murmur was heard from the men. 
Over the high weather rail, a topping wave flung into their 
eyes a handful of heavy drops that stung like hail. There 
were low groans of indignation. A man sighed. Another 
emitted a spasmodic laugh through his chattering teeth. 
No one moved away. The little kassab wiped his face and 
went on in his cracked voice, to the accompaniment of the 
swishing sounds made by the seas that swept regularly 
astern along the ship's side. 

"Have you heard him shout at the wind— louder than the 
wind? I have heard, being far forward. And before, too, in 
the many years I served this white man I have heard him 
often cry magic words that make all safe. Ya-wa! This 
is truth. Ask Wasub who is a Haji, even as I am." 

"I have seen white men's ships with their masts broken — 
also wrecked like our own praus," remarked sadly a lean, lank 


fellow who shivered beside the kassab, hanging his head and 
trying to grasp his shoulder blades. 

"True," admitted the kassab. "They are all the chjjjdren 
of Satan but to some more favour is shown. To obey such men 
on the sea or in a fight is good. I saw him who is master 
here fight with wild men who eat their enemies — ^far away 
to the eastward — and I dealt blows by his side without fear; 
for the charms he, no doubt, possesses protect his servants 
also. I am a believer and the Stoned One can not touch my 
forehead. Yet the reward of victory comes from the ac- 
cursed. For six years have I sailed with that white man; 
first as one who minds the rudder, for I am a man of the sea, 
born in a prau, and am skilled in such work. And now, be- 
cause of my great knowledge of his desires, I have the care 
of all things in this ship." 

Several voices muttered "True. True." They remained 
apathetic and patient, in the rush of wind, under the repeated 
short flights of sprays. The slight roll of the ship balanced 
them stiffly all together where they stood propped against 
the big boat. The breeze humming between the inclined 
masts enveloped their dark and silent figures in the unceasing 
resonance of its breath. 

The brig's head had been laid so as to pass a little to wind- 
ward of the small islands of the Carimata group. They had 
been till then hidden in the night, but now both men on the 
lookout reported land ahead in one long cry. Lingard, stand- 
ing to leeward abreast of the wheel, watched the islet first seen. 
When it was nearly a-beam of the brig he gave his orders, and 
Wasub hurried off to the main deck. The helm was put 
down, the yards on the main came slowly square and the wet 
canvas of the main-topsail clung suddenly to the mast after 
a single heavy flap. The dazzling streak of the ship's wake 
vanished. The vessel lost her way and began to dip her 
bows into the quick succession of the running head seas. 
And at every slow plunge of the craft, the song of the wind 
would swell louder amongst the waving spars, with a wild 
and mournful note. 

Just as the brig's boat had been swung out, ready for low- 


ering, the yacht's gig hauled up by its line appeared tossing 
and splashing on the lee quarter. Carter stood up in the 
stern sheets balancing himself cleverly to the disordered mo- 
tion of his cockleshell. He hailed the brig twice to know 
what was the matter, not being able from below and in the 
darkness to make out what that confused group of men on 
the poop were about. He got no answer, though he could 
see the shape of a man standing by himself aft, and appar- 
ently watching him. He was going to repeat his hail for 
the third time when he heard the rattling of tackles followed 
by a heavy splash, a burst of voices, scrambling hollow sounds 
— and a dark mass detaching itself from the brig's side swept 
past him on the crest of a passing wave. For less than a 
second he could see on the shimmer of the night sky the~ 
shape of a boat, the heads of men, the blades of oars point- 
ing upward while being got out hurriedly. Then all this 
sank out of sight, reappeared once more far off and hardly 
discernible, before vanishing for good. 

"Why, they've lowered a boat!" exclaimed Carter, falling 
back in his seat. He remembered that he had seen only a 
few hours ago three native praus lurking amongst those very 
islands. For a moment he had the idea of casting off to go 
in chase of that boat, so as to find out. . . . Find out 
what? He gave up his idea at once. What could he do? 

The conviction that the yacht, and everything belonging 
to her, were in some indefinite but very real danger, took 
afresh a strong hold of him, and the persuasion that the 
master of the brig was going there to help did not by any 
means assuage his alarm. The fact only served to comphcate 
his uneasiness with a sense of mystery. 

The white man who spoke as if that sea was all his own, or 
as if people intruded upon his privacy by taking the liberty 
of getting wrecked on a coast where he and his friends did 
some queer business, seemed to him an undesirable helper. 
That the boats had been lowered to communicate with the 
praus seen and avoided by him in the evening he had no 
doubt. The thought had flashed on him at once. It had 
an ugly look. Yet the best thing to do after all was to hang 


on and get back to the yacht and warn them. . . . Warn 
them against whom? The man had been perfectly open 
with him. Warn them against what? It struck him that 
he hadn't the slightest conception of what would happen, 
of what was even likely to happen. That strange res- 
cuer himself was bringing the news of danger. Danger 
from the natives of course. And yet he was in com- 
munication with those natives. That was evident. That 
boat going off in the night. . . Carter swore heartily 

to himself. His perplexity became positive bodily pain as 
he sat, wet, uncomfortable and still, one hand on the tiller, 
thrown up and down in headlong swings of his boat. And 
before his eyes, towering high, the black hull of the brig also 
rose and fell, setting her stern down in the sea, now and again, 
with a tremendous and foaming splash. Not a sound from 
her reached Carter's ears. She seemed an abandoned craft 
but for the outline of a man's head and body still visible in a 
watchful attitude above the taffrail. 

Carter told his bowman to haul up closer and hailed. 

"Brig ahoy. Anything wrong?" 

He waited, listening. The shadowy man still watched. 
After some time a curt "No" came back in answer. 

"Are you going to keep hove-to long? " shouted Carter. 

"Don't know. Not long. Drop your boat clear of the 
ship. Drop clear. Do damage if you don't." 

"Slack away, John!" said Carter in a resigned tone to the 
elderly seaman in the bow. "Slack away and let us ride 
easy to the full scope. They don't seem very talkative on 
board there." 

Even while he was speaking the line ran out and the regu- 
lar undulations of the passing seas drove the boat away from 
the brig. Carter turned a little in his seat to look at the land. 
It loomed up dead to leeward like a lofty and irregular cone 
only a mile or a mile and a half distant. The noise of the 
surf beating upon its base was heard against the wind in 
measured detonations. The fatigue of many days spent s 
in the boat asserted itself above the restlessness of Carter's 
thoughts and, gradually, he lost the notion of the passing 


time without altogether losing the consciousness of his situa- 

In the intervals of that benumbed stupor — rather than 
sleep — ^he was aware that the interrupted noise of the surf 
had grown into a continuous great rumble, swelling periodic- 
ally into a loud roar; that the high islet appeared now bigger, 
and that a white fringe of foam was visible at its feet. Still 
there was no stir or movement of any kind on board the brig. 
He noticed that the wind was moderating and the sea going 
down with it, and then dozed off again for a minute. When 
next he opened his eyes with a start, it was just in time to 
see with surprise a new star soar noiselessly straight up from 
behind the land, take up its position in a brilliant constella- 
tion — and go out suddenly. Two more followed, ascending 
together, and after reaching about the same elevation, ex- 
pired side by side. 

"Them's rockets, sir — ain't they?" said one of the men in 
a muffled voice. 

"Aye, rockets," grunted Carter. "And now, what's the 
next move?" he muttered to himself dismally. 

He got his answer in the fierce swishing whirr of a slender 
ray of fire that, shooting violently upward from the sombre 
hull of the brig, dissolved at once into a dull red shower of 
falling sparks. Only one, white and brilliant, remained 
alone poised high overhead, and after glowing vividly for a 
second, exploded with a feeble report. Almost at the same 
time he saw the brig's head fall off the wind, made out the 
yards swinging round to fill the main topsail, and heard dis- 
tinctly the thud of the first wave thrown off by the advancing 
bows. The next minute the tow-line got the strain and his 
boat started hurriedly after the brig with a sudden jerk. 

Leaning forward, wide awake and attentive, Carter steered. 
His men sat one behind another with shoulders up, and arched 
backs, dozing, uncomfortable but patient, upon the thwarts. 
The care requisite to steer the boat properly in the track of 
the seething and disturbed water left by the brig in her rapid 
course prevented him from reflecting much upon the un- 
certitude of the future and upon his own unusual situation. 


Now he Wcis only exceedingly anxious to see the yacht 
again, and it was with a feeling of very real satisfaction 
that he saw all plain sail being made on the brig. Through 
the remaining hours of the night he sat grasping the tiller 
and keeping his eyes on the shadowy and high pyramid of 
canvas gliding steadily ahead of his boat with a slight bal- 
ancing movement from side to side. 


IT WAS noon before the brig, piloted by Lingard through 
the deep channels between the outer coral reefs, rounded 
within pistol-shot a low hummock of sand which marked 
the end of a long stretch of stony ledges that, being mostly 
awash, showed a black head only, here and there amongst 
the hissing brown froth of the yellow sea. As the brig 
drew clear of the sandy patch there appeared, dead to 
windward and beyond a maze of broken water, sandspits 
and clusters of rocks, the black hull of the yacht heeling 
over, high and motionless upon the great expanse of ght- 
tering shallows. Her long, naked spars were inclined shghtly 
as if she had been sailing with a good breeze. There 
was to the lookers-on aboard the brig something sad and 
disappointing in the yacht's aspect as she lay perfectly stiU 
in an attitude that in a seaman's mind is associated with the 
idea of rapid motion. 

"Here she is!" said Shaw, who, clad in a spotless white 
suit, came just then from forward where he had been busy 
with the anchors. "She is well on, sir — isn't she? Looks 
like a mudflat from here to me." 

"Yes. It is a mudflat," said Lingard, slowly, raising the 
long glass to his eye. "Haul the mainsail up, Mr. Shaw," 
he went on while he took a steady look at the yacht. "We 
will have to work in short tacks here." 

He put the glass down and moved away from the rail. 
For the next hour he handled his little vessel in the intricate 
and narrow channel with careless certitude, as if every stone, 
every grain of sand upon the treacherous bottom had been 
plainly disclosed to his sight. He handled her in the fitful 
and unsteady breeze with a matter-of-fact audacity that 
made Shaw, forward at his station, gasp in sheer alarm. 



When heading towards the inshore shoals the brig was never 
put around till the quick, loud cries of the leadsmen announced 
that there were no more than three feet of water under her 
keel; and when standing towards the steep inner edge of the 
long reef, where the lead was of no use, the helm would be 
put down only when the cutwater touched the faint line of 
the bordering foam. Lingard's love for his brig was a 
man's love, and was so great that it could never be appeased 
unless he called on her to put forth all her quaUties and her 
power, to repay his exacting affection by a faithfulness tried to 
the very utmost limit of endurance. Every flutter of the sails 
flew down from aloft along the taut leeches, to enter his heart 
in a sense of acute delight; and the gentle murmur of water 
alongside, which, continuous and soft, showed that in all her 
windings his incomparable craft had never, even for an in- 
stant, ceased to carry her way, was to him more precious 
and inspiring than the soft whisper of tender words would 
have been to another man. It was in such moments that he 
lived intensely, in a flush of strong feeling that made him 
long to press his little vessel to his breast. She was his per- 
fect world full of trustful joy. 

The people on board the yacht, who watched eagerly the 
first sail they had seen since they had been ashore on that 
deserted part of the coast, soon made her out, with some 
disappointment, to be a small merchant brig beating up tack 
for tack along the inner edge of the reef— probably with the 
intention to communicate and offer assistance. The general 
opinion among the seafaring portion of her crew was that 
little effective assistance could be expected from a vessel of 
that description. Only the sailing-master of the yacht re- 
marked to the boatswain (who had the advantage of being 
his first cousin) : "This man is well acquainted here; you 
can see that by the way he handles his brig. I shan't be sorry 
to have somebody to stand by us. Can't teU when we will 
get off this mud, George." 

A long board, sailed very close, enabled the brig to fetch 
the southern limit of discoloured water over the mudbank 
on which the yacht had stranded. On the very edge of the 


muddy patch she was put in stays for the last time. As soon 
as she had paid off on the other tack, sail was shortened 
smartly, and the brig commenced the stretch that was to 
bring her to her anchorage, under her topsails, lower staysails 
and jib. There was then less than a quarter of a mile of shal- 
low water between her and the yacht; but while that vessel 
had gone ashore with her head to the eastward, the brig was 
moving slowly in a west-north-west direction, and conse- 
quently, sailed — so to speak — past the whole length of the 
yacht. Lingard saw every soul in the schooner on deck, 
watching his advent in a silence which was as imbroken 
perfect as that on board his own vessel. 

A little man with a red face framed in white whiskers 
waved a gold-laced cap above the rail in the waist of the 
yacht. Lingard raised his arm in return. Further aft, 
under the white awnings, he could see two men and a woman. 
One of the men and the lady were in blue. The other man, 
who seemed very tall and stood with his arm entwined roimd 
an awning stanchion above his head, was clad in white. 
Lingard saw them plainly. They looked at the brig through 
binoculars, turned their faces to one another, moved their 
lips, seemed surprised. A large dog put his forepaws on the 
rail, and, lifting up his big, black head, sent out three loud 
and plaintive barks, then dropped down out of sight. A 
sudden stir and an appearance of excitement amongst all 
hands on board the yacht was caused by their perceiving 
that the boat towing astern of the stranger was their own 
second gig. 

Arms were outstretched with pointing fingers. Someone 
shouted out a long sentence of which not a word could be 
made out; and then the brig, having reached the western 
Umit of the bank, began to move diagonally away, increasing 
her distance from the yacht but bringing her stern gradually 
into view. The people aft, Lingard noticed, left their places 
and walked over to the taffrail so as to keep him longer in 

When about a mile off the bank and nearly in line with the 
stern of the yacht the brig's topsails fluttered and the yards 


came down slowly on the caps; the fore and aft canvas ran 
down; and for some time she floated quietly with folded wings 
upon the transparent sheet of water, under the radiant 
silence of the sky. Then her anchor went to the bottom 
with a rumbling noise resembling the roll of distant thunder. 
In a moment her head tended to the last puffs of the northerly 
airs and the ensign at the peak stirred, unfurled itself slowly, 
collapsed, flew out again, and finally hung down straight and 
still, as if weighted with lead. 

"Dead calm, sir," said Shaw to Lingard. "Dead calm 
again. We got into this funny place in the nick of time, sir." 

They stood for a while side by side, looking romid upon 
the coast and the sea. The brig had been brought up in the 
middle of a broad belt of clear water. To the north, rocky 
ledges showed in black and white lines upon the slight swell 
setting in from there. A small island stood out from the 
broken water like the square tower of some submerged 
building. It was about two miles distant from the brig. 
To the eastward the coast was low; a coast of green forests 
fringed with dark mangroves. There was in its sombre dull- 
ness a clearly defined opening, as if a small piece had been 
cut out with a sharp knife. The water in it shone like a 
patch of polished silver. Lingard pointed it out to Shaw. 

"This is the entrance to the place where we are going," 
he said. 

Shaw stared, round-eyed. 

"I thought you came here on account of this here yacht," 
he stammered, surprised. 

"Ah. The yacht," said Lingard, musingly, keeping his eyes 

on the break in the coast. "The yacht " He stamped 

his foot suddenly. " I would give all I am worth and throw 
in a few days of life into the bargain if I could get her off 
and away before to-night." 

He calmed down, and again stood gazing at the land. A 
little within the entrance from behind the wall of forests an 
invisible fire belched out steadily the black and heavy con- 
volutions of thick smoke, which stood out high, like a twisted 
and shivering pillar against the clear blue of the sky 


"We must stop that game, Mr. Shaw," said Lingard, 

"Yes, sir. What game?" asked Shaw, looking round in 

"This smoke," said Lingard, impatiently. "It's a signal." 

"Certainly, sir — though I don't see how we can do it. It 
seems far inland. A signal for what, sir? " 

"It was not meant for us," said Lingard in an unexpectedly 
savage tone. "Here, Shaw, make them put a blank charge 
into that forecastle gun. Tell 'em to ram hard the wadding 
and grease the mouth. We want to make a good noise. If 
old Jorgenson hears it, that fire will be out before you have 
time to turn 'round twice. ... In a minute, Mr. Carter." 

The yacht's boat had come alongside as soon as the brig 
had been brought up, and Carter had been waiting to take 
Lingard on board the yacht. They both walked now to the 
gangway. Shaw, following his commander, stood by to take 
his last orders. 

"Put all the boats in the water, Mr. Shaw," Lingard was 
saying, with one foot on the rail, ready to leave his ship, 
"and mount the four-poimder swivel in the long-boat's bow. 
Cast off the sea lashings of the guns, but don't run 'em out 
yet. Keep the topsails loose and the jib ready for setting, 
I may want the sails in a hurry. Now, Mr. Carter, I am 
ready for you." 

"Shove off, boys," said Carter as soon as they were seated 
in the boat. " Shove off, and give way for a last pull before 
you get a long rest." 

The men lay back on their oars, grunting. Their faces 
were drawn, gray and streaked with the dried salt sprays. 
They had the worried expression of men who had a long 
call made upon their endurance. Carter, heavy-eyed and 
dull, steered for the yacht's gangway. Lingard asked 
as they were crossing the brig's bows — 

"Water enough alongside your craft, I suppose?" 

"Yes. Eight to twelve feet," answered Carter, hoarsely. 
"Say, Captain! Where's your show of cut-throats? Why! 
This sea is as empty as a church on a week-day." 


The booming report, nearly over his head, of the brig's 
eighteen-pounder interrupted him. A romid puff of white 
vapour, spreading itself lazily, clung in fading shreds about 
the foreyard. Lingard, tmming half round in the stern 
sheets, looked at the smoke on the shore. Carter remained 
silent, staring sleepily at the yacht they were approaching. 
Lingard kept watching the smoke so intensely that he almost 
forgot where he was, till Carter's voice pronouncing sharply 
at his ear the words "way enough," recalled him to himself. 

They were in the shadow of the yacht and coming along- 
side her ladder. The master of the brig looked upwards into 
the face of a gentleman, with long whiskers and a shaved chin, 
staring down at him over the side through a single eye- 
glass. As he put his foot on the bottom step he could 
see the shore smoke stiU ascending, unceasing and thick; 
but even as he looked the very base of the black pillar 
rose above the ragged line of tree-tops. The whole 
thing floated clear away from the earth, and rolling itself into 
an irregularly shaped mass, drifted out to seaward, travelling 
slowly over the blue heavens, like a threatening and lonely 


THE coast off which the little brig, floating upright 
above her anchor, seemed to guard the high hull of 
the yacht has no distinctive features. It is land 
without form. It stretches away without cape or bluff, long 
and low — ^indefinitely; and when the heavy gusts of the north- 
east monsoon drive the thick rain slanting over the sea, 
it is seen faintly under the gray sky, black and with a blurred 
outline like the straight edge of a dissolving shore. In the long 
season of unclouded days, it presents to view only a narrow 
band of earth that appears crushed flat upon the vast level 
of waters by the weight of the sky, whose immense dome rests 
on it in a line as fine and true as that of the sea horizon itself. 

Notwithstanding its nearness to the centres of European 
power, this coast has been known for ages to the armed 
wanderers of these seas as "The Shore of Refuge." It has 
no specific name on the charts, and geography manuals don't 
mention it at all; but the wreckage of many defeats uner- 
ringly drifts into its creeks. Its approaches are extremely 
difficult for a stranger. Looked at from seaward, the in- 
numerable islets fringing what, on account of its vast size, 
may be called the mainland, merge into a background that 
presents not a single landmark to poiat the way through 
the intricate channels. It may be said that in a belt of sea 
twenty miles broad along that low shore there is much more 
coral, mud, sand and stones than actual sea water. It was 
amongst the outlying shoals of this stretch that the yacht had 
gone ashore and the events consequent upon her stranding 
took place. 

The diffused light of the short daybreak showed the open 
water to the westward, sleeping, smooth and gray, under a 



faded heaven. The straight coast threw a heavy belt of 
gloom along the shoals, which, in the calm of expiring night, 
were unmarked by the slightest ripple. In the faint dawn 
the low clumps of bushes on the sandbanks appeared im- 

Two figures, noiseless like two shadows, moved slowly 
over the beach of a rocky islet, and stopped side by side on 
the very edge of the water. Behind them, between the mats 
from which they had arisen, a small heap of black embers 
smouldered quietly. They stood upright and perfectly still, 
but for the slight movement of their heads from right to left 
and back again as they swept their gaze through the gray 
emptiness of the waters where, about two miles distant, the 
hull of the yacht loomed up to seaward, black and shapeless, 
against the wan sky. 

The two figures looked beyond without exchanging as much 
as a murmur. The taller of the two grounded, at arm's 
length, the stock of a gun with a long barrel; the hair of the 
other fell down to its waist; and, near by, the leaves of creep- 
ers drooping from the summit of the steep rock stirred 
no more than the festooned stone. The faint Ught, dis- 
closing here and there a gleam of white sandbanks and 
the blurred hummocks of islets scattered within the gloom 
of the coast, the profound silence, the vast stillness all 
round, accentuated the loneliness of the two human beings 
who, urged by a sleepless hope, had risen thus, at break of 
day, to look afar upon the veiled face of the sea. 

"Nothing!" said the man with a sigh, and as if awakening 
from a long period of musing. 

He was clad in a jacket of coarse blue cotton, of the kind a 
poor fisherman might own, and he wore it wide op>en on a mus- 
cular chest the colour and smoothness of bronze. From the 
twist of threadbare sarong wound tightly on the hips pro- 
truded outward to the left the ivory hilt, ringed with six 
bands of gold, of a weapon that would not have disgraced a 
ruler. Silver glittered about the flintlock and the hard- 
wood stock of his gun. The red and gold handkerchief 
folded round his head was of costly stuff, such as is woven by 


high-born women in the households of chiefs, only the gold 
threads were tarnished and the silk frayed in the folds. 
His head was thrown back, the dropped eyelids narrowed 
the gleam of his eyes. His face was hairless, the nose short 
with mobile nostrils, and the smile of careless good-humour 
seemed to have been permanently wrought, as if with a 
delicate tool, into the slight hollows about the corners of 
rather full lips. His upright figure had a negligent elegance. 
But in the careless face, in the easy gestures of the whole 
man there was something attentive and restrained. 

After giving the offing a last searching glance, he turned 
and, facing the rising sun, walked bare-footed on the elastic 
sand. The trailed butt of his gim made a deep furrow. The 
embers had ceased to smoulder. He looked down at them 
pensively for awhile, then called over his shoulder to the 
woman who had remained behind, still scanning the sea: 

"The fire is out, Immada." 

At the sound of his voice the girl moved towards the mats. 
Her black hair himg like a mantle. Her sarong, the kilt- 
like garment which both sexes wear, had the national check 
of gray and red, but she had not completed her attire by the 
belt, scarves, the loose upper wrappings, and the head-cover- 
ing of a woman. A black silk jacket, like that of a man of 
rank, was buttoned over her bust and fitted closely to her 
slender waist. The edge of a stdnd-up collar, stiff with gold 
embroidery, rubbed her cheek. She had no bracelets, no 
anklets, and although dressed practically in man's clothes, 
had about her person no weapon of any sort. Her arms 
hung down in exceedingly tight sleeves slit a little way up 
from the wrist, gold-braided and with a row of small gold 
buttons. She walked, brown and alert, all of a piece, with 
short steps, the eyes lively in an impassive little face, the 
arched mouth closed firmly; and her whole person breathed 
in its rigid grace the fiery gravity of youth at the beginning 
of the task of life — at the beginning of beliefs and hopes. 

This was the day of Lingard's arrival upon the coast, 
but, as is known, the brig, delayed by the calm, did not appear 
in sight of the shallows till the morning was far advanced. 


Disappointed in their hope to see the expected sail shmmg 
in the first rays of the rising sun, the man and the woman, 
without attempting to rehght the fire, lounged on their 
sleeping mats. At their feet a common canoe, hauled out of 
the water, was, for more security, moored by a grass rope to 
the shaft of a long spear planted firmly on the white beach, 
and the incoming tide lapped monotonously against its 

The woman, twisting up her black hair, fastened it with 
slender wooden pins. The man, reclining at full length, had 
made room on his mat for the gun — as one would do for a 
friend — and, supported on his elbow, looked towards the 
yacht with eyes whose fixed dreaminess like a transparent veil 
would show the slow passage of every gloomy thought by 
deepening gradually into a sombre stare. 

"We have seen three sunrises on ;his islet, and no friend 
came from the sea," he said without charging his attitude, 
with his back towards the womar, who sat on the other side of 
the cold embers. 

"Yes; and the moon is waning, ' she answered in a low 
voice. "The moon is waning. Ye. he promised to be here 
when the nights are Ught and the water covers the sandbanks 
as far as the bushes." 

"The traveller knows the time of his setting out, but not 
the time of his return," observed the man, cahnly. 

The girl sighed. 

"The nights of waiting are long," she murmured. 

"And sometimes they are vain," said the man with the 
same composure. "Perhaps he will never return." 

"Why?" exclaimed the girl. 

"The road is long and the heart may grow cold," was the 
answer in a quiet voice. "If he does not return it is because 
he has forgotten." 

" OhjOHassin);^ it is because he is dead," cried the woman, 

The man, looking fixedly to seaward, smiled at the ardour 
of her tone. 

They were brother and sister, and though very much alike, 


the family resemblance was lost in the more general traits 
common to the whole race. 

They were natives of Wajo and it is a common saying 
amongst the Malay race that to be a successful traveller and 
trader a man must have some Wajo blood in his veins. And 
with those people trading, which means also traveUing afar, is 
a romantic and an honourable occupation. The trader must 
possess an adventurous spirit and a keen understanding; 
he should have the fearlessness of youth and the sagacity of 
age; he should be diplomatic and courageous, so as to secure 
the favotir of the great and inspire fear in evil-doers. 

These qualities naturally are not expected in a shop-keeper 
or a Chinaman pedlar; they are considered indispensable 
only for a man who, of noble birth and perhaps related to the 
ruler of his own country, wanders over the seas in a craft of 
his own and with many followers; carries from island to 
island important news as well as merchandise; who may be 
trusted with secret messages and valuable goods; a man who, 
in short, is as ready to intrigue and fight as to buy and sell. 
Such is the ideal trader of Wajo. 

Trading, thus understood, was the occupation of ambitious 
men who played an occult but important part in all those 
national risings, reUgious disturbances, and also in the organ- 
ized piratical movements on a large scale which, during the 
first half of the last century, affected the fate of more than 
one native dynasty and, for a few years at least, seriously en- 
dangered the Dutch rule in the East. When, at the cost of 
much blood and gold, a comparative peace had been imposed 
on the islands, the same occupation, though shorn of its 
glorious possibilities, remained attractive for the most adven- 
turous of a restless race. The younger sons and relations of 
many a native ruler traversed the seas of the Archipelago, 
visited the innumerable and little-known islands, and the 
then practically unknown shores of New Guinea; every spot 
where European trade had not penetrated — ^from Aru to 
Atjeh, from Sumbawa to Palawan. 


IT WAS in the most unknown perhaps of such spots, a 
small bay on the coast of New Guinea, that young Pata 
Hassim, the nephew of one of the greatest chiefs of Wajo, 
met Lingard for the first time. 

He was a trader after the Wajo manner, and in a stout sea- 
going yrau armed with two guns and manned by young men 
who were related to his family by blood or dependence, had 
come in there to buy some birds of paradise skins for the old 
Sultan of Ternate; a risky expedition undertaken not in| 
the way of business but as a matter of courtesy towards the 
aged Sultan who had entertained him sumptuously in that 
dismal brick palace at Ternate for a month or more. 

While lying off the village, very much on his guard, waiting 
for the skins and negotiating with the treacherous coast- 
savages who are the go-betweens in that trade, Hassim saw 
one morning Lingard's brig come to an anchor in the bay, 
and shortly afterwards observed a white man of great stature 
with a beard that shone like gold, land from a boat and stroll 
on unarmed, though followed by four Malays of the brig's 
crew, towards the native village. 

Hassim was struck with wonder and amazement at the 
cool recklessness of such a proceeding; and, after, in true 
Malay fashion, discussing with his people for an hour or so 
the urgency of the case, he also landed, but well escorted 
and armed, with the intention of going to see what would 

The affair really was very simple, "such as" — ^Lingard 
would say — " such as might have happened to anybody." He 
went ashore with the intention to look for some stream where 
he could conveniently replenish his water casks, this being 
really the motive which had induced him to enter the bay. 



While, with his men close by and surrounded by a mop- 
headed, sooty crowd, he was showing a few cotton handker- 
chiefsijand trying to explain by signs the object of his landing, 
a spear, lunged from behind, grazed his neck. Probably 
the Papuan wanted only to ascertain whether such a creature 
could be killed or hurt, and most hkely firmly believed that 
it could not; but one of Lingard's seamen at once retaliated 
by striking at the experimenting savage with his parang — 
three such choppers brought for the purpose of clearing the 
bush, if necessary, being all the weapons the party from the 
brig possessed. 

A deadly tumult ensued with such suddenness that Lin- 
gard, turning round swiftly, saw his defender, already speared 
in three places, fall forward at his feet. Wasub, who was 
there, and afterwards told the story once a week on an average, 
used to horrify his hearers by showing how the man blinked 
his eyes quicldy before he fell. Lingard was unarmed. To 
the end of his life he remained incorrigibly reckless in that 
respect, explaining that he was "much too quick tempered 
to carry firearms on the chance of a row. And if put to it," j 
he argued, "I can make shift to kill a man with my fist any- ' 
how; and then — don't ye see — ^you know what you're doing 
and are not so apt to start a trouble from sheer temper or funk i 

In this case he did his best to kill a man with a blow from 
the shoulder and catching up another by the middle flung 
him at the naked, wild crowd. "He hurled men about as 
the wind hurls broken boughs. He made a broad way 
through our enemies!" related Wasub in his jerky voice. It 
is more probable that Lingard's quick movements and the 
amazing aspect of such a strange bein^ caused the warriors to 
fall back before his rush. 

Taking instant advantage of their surprise and fear, Lin- 
gard, followed by his men, dashed along the kind of ruinous 
jetty leading to the village which was erected as usual over 
the water. They darted into one of the miserable huts 
built of rotten mats and bits of decayed canoes, and in this 
shelter showing daylight through all its sides, they had time 


to draw breath and realize that their position was not much 

The women and children screaming had cleared out into 
the bush, while at the shore end of the jetty the warriors 
cap)ered and yelled, preparing for a general attack. Lin- 
gard noticed with mortification that his boat-keeper appar- 
ently had lost his head, for, instead of swimming off to 
the ship to give the alarm, as he was perfectly able to do, 
the man; actually struck out for a small rock a hundred yards 
away and was frantically trying to chmb up its perpendicular 
side. The tide being out, to jump into the horrible mud 
under the houses would have been almost certain death. 
Nothing remained therefore — since the miserable dwelling 
would not have withstood a vigorous kick, let alone a siege 
— but to rush back on shore and regain possession of the boat. 
To this Lingard made up his mind quickly and, arming 
himself with a crooked stick he found under his hand, sallied 
forth at the head of his three men. As he bounded along, 
far in advance, he had just time to perceive clearly the des- 
perate nature of the undertaking, when he heard two shots 
fired to his right. The solid mass of black bodies and frizzly 
heads in front of him wavered and broke up. They did not 
run away, however. 

Lingard pursued his course, but now with that thrill of ex- 
ultation which even a faint prospect of success inspires in a 
sanguine man. He heard a shout of many voices far off, 
then there was another report of a shot, and a musket ball 
fired at long range spurted a tiny jet of sand between him and 
his wild enemies. His next bound would have carried him 
into their midst had they awaited his onset, but his uplifted 
arm found nothing to strike. Black backs were leaping high' 
or gliding horizontally through the grass towards the edge 
of the bush. ' 

He flung his stick at the nearest pair of black shoulders 
and stopped short. The tall grasses swayed themselves' 
Into a rest, a chorus of yells and piercing shrieks died out 
in a dismal howl, and, all at once the wooded shores and the 
blue bay seemed to fall under the spell of a luminous stillness. 


The change was as startling as the awakening from a dream. 
The sudden silence struck Lingard as amazing. 

He broke it by lifting his voice in a stentorian shout, which 
arrested the pursuit of his men. They retired reluctantly, 
glaring back angrily at the wall of a jungle where not a single 
leaf stirred. The strangers, whose opportune appearance 
had decided the issue of that adventure, did not attempt to 
join in the pursuit but halted in a compact body on the ground 
lately occupied by the savages. 

Lingard and the yoimg leader of the Wajo traders met in 
the splendid light of noonday and amidst the attentive silence 
of their followers, on the very spot where the Malay seaman 
had lost his life. Lingard, striding up from one side, thrust 
out his open palm; Hassim responded at once to the frank 
gesture and they exchanged their first hand-clasp over the 
prostrate body, as if fate had already exacted the price of a 
death for the most ominous of her gifts — the gift of friend- 
ship that sometimes contains the whole good or evU of a life. 

"I'll never forget this day," cried Lingard in a hearty 
tone; and the other smiled quietly. 

Then after a short pause — "Will you burn the village for 
vengeance?" asked the Malay with a quick glance down at 
the dead Lascar who, on his face and with stretched arms, 
seemed to cling desperately to that earth of which he had 
known so little. 

Lingard hesitated. 

"No," he said, at last. " It would do good to no one." 

"True," said Hassim, gently, "but was this man your 
debtor — a slave ? " 

"Slave '."cried Lingard. "This is an English brig. Slave? 
No. A free man like myself." 

"Eai. He is indeed free now," muttered the Malay with 
another glance downward. "But who will pay the bereaved 
for his life?" 

"If there is anywhere a woman or child belonging to him, 
I — my serang would know — I shall seek them out," cried Lin- 
gard, remorsefully. 

"You speak like a chief," said Hassim, "only our great 


men do not go to battle with naked hands. O you white 
men ! O the valour of you white men ! " 

"It was folly, pure folly," protested Lingard, "and this 
poor fellow has paid for it." 

"He could not avoid his destiny," murmured the Malay. 
"It is in my mind my trading is finished now in this place," 
he added, cheerfully. 

Lingard expressed his regret. 

"It is no matter, it is no matter," assured the other cour- 
teously, and after Lingard had given a pressing invitation for 
Hassim and his two companions of high rank to visit the 
brig, the two parties separated. 

The evening was calm when the Malay craft left its berth 
near the shore and was rowed slowly across the bay to Lin- 
gard's anchorage. The end of a stout line was thrown on 
board, and that night the white man's brig and the brown 
man's jirau swung together to the same anchor. 

The sun setting to seaward shot its last rays between the 
headlands, when the body of the killed Lascar, wrapped up 
decently in a white sheet, according to Mohammedan usage, 
was lowered gently below the still waters of the bay upon 
which his curious glances, only a few hours before, had 
rested for the first time. At the moment the dead man, re- 
leased from slip-ropes, disappeared without a ripple before 
the eyes of his shipmates, the bright flash and the heavy re- 
port of the brig's bow gun were succeeded by the muttering 
echoes of the encircling shores and by the loud cries of sea 
birds that, wheeling in clouds, seemed to scream after the de- 
parting seaman a wild and eternal good-bye. The master of 
the brig, making his way aft with hanging head, was fol- 
lowed by low mlirmurs of pleased surprise from his crew as 
well as from the strangers who crowded the main deck. 
Th such acts performed simply, from conviction, what may 
be called the romantic side of the man's nature came out; 
that responsive sensitiveness to the shadowy appeals made 
by life and death, which is the groundwork of a chivalrous 

Lingard entertained his three visitors far into the night. 


A sheep from the brig's sea stock was given to the men of the 
prau, while in the cabin, Hassim and his two friends, sitting in 
a row on the stern settee, looked very splendid with costly 
metals and flawed jewels. The talk conducted with hearty 
friendship on Lingard's part, and on the part of the Malays 
with the well-bred air of discreet courtesy, which is natural 
to the better class of that people, touched upon many sub- 
jects and, in the end, drifted to politics. 

"It is in my mind that you are a powerful man in your 
own country," said Hassim, with a circular glance at the 

"My country is upon a far-away sea where the light 
breezes are as strong as the winds of the rainy weather 
here," said Lingard; and there were low exclamations of 
wonder. "I left it very young, and I don't know about my 
power there where great men alone are as numerous as the 
poor people in all your islands, Tuan Hassim. But here," he 
continued, "here, which is also my country — being an English 
craft and worthy of it, too — I am powerful enough. In fact, 
I am Rajah here. This bit of my country is all my own." 

The visitors were impressed, exchanged meaning glances, 
nodded at each other. 

"Good, good," said Hassim at last, with a smile. "You 
carry your country and your power with you over the sea. 
A Rajah upon the sea. Good ! " 

Lingard laughed thunderously while the others looked 

"Your country is very powerful — we know," began again 
Hassim after a pause, "but is it stronger than the country of 
the Dutch who steal our land.? " 

"Stronger?" cried Lingard. He opened a broad palm. 

"Stronger? We could take them in our hand like this " 

and he closed his fingers triimiphantly. 

"And do you make them pay tribute for then- land?" 
enquired Hassim with eagerness. 

"No," answered Lingard in a sobered tone; "this, Tuan 
Hassim, you see, is not the custom of white men. We could, 
of course — ^but it is not the custom." 


"Is it not?" said the other with a sceptical smile. "They 
are stronger than we are and they want tribute from us. And 
sometimes they get it — even from Wajo, every man 
is free and wears a kris." 

There was a period of dead silence while Lingard looked 
thoughtful and the Malays gazed stonily at nothing. 

"But we burn our powder amongst ourselves," went on 
Hassim, gently, "and blunt our weapons upon one another." 

He sighed, paused, and then changing to an easy tone began 
to urge Lingard to visit Wajo "for trade and to see friends," 
he said, laying his hand on his breast and inclining his body 

"Aye. To trade with friends," cried Lingard with a 
laugh, "for such a ship" — he waved his arm — "for such 
a vessel as this is like a household where there are many be- 
hind the curtain. It is as costly as a wife and children." 

The guests rose and took their leave. 

"You fired three shots for me, Panglima Hassim," said 
Lingard, seriously, "and I have had three barrels of powder 
put on board your prau; one for each shot. But we are not 

The Malay's eyes glittered with pleasure. 

"This is indeed a friend's gift. Come to see me In my 

"I promise," said Lingard, "to see you — some day." 

The cahn surface of the bay reflected the glorious night sky, 
and the brig with the prau riding astern seemed to be sus- 
pended amongst the stars in a peace that was almost un- 
earthly in the perfection of its unstirring silence. The last 
hand-shakes were exchanged on deck, and the Malays went 
aboard their own craft. Next morning, when a breeze 
sprang up soon after sunrise, the brig and the prau left the 
bay together. When clear of the land Lingard made all sail 
and sheered alongside to say good-bye before parting com- 
pany — the brig, of course, sailing three feet to the prau's 
one. Hassim stood on the high deck aft. 

"Prosperous road," hailed Lingard. 

"Remember the promise ! " shouted the other. "And come 


soon!" he went on, raising his voice as the brig forged past. 
"Come soon — ^lest what perhaps is written should come to 

The brig shot ahead. 

"What?" yelled Lingard in a puzzled tone, "what's 

He listened. And floating over the water came faintly 
the words — 

"No one knows!" 


MY WORD ! I couldn't help liking the chap," would 
shout Lingard when telling the story; and looking 
around at the eyes that glittered at him through the 
smoke of cheroots, this Brixham trawler-boy, afterwards a 
youth in colliers, deep-water man, gold-digger, owner and 
commander of "the finest brig afloat," knew that by his 
listeners — seamen, traders, adventurers like himself — this 
was accepted not as the expression of a feeling, but as the 
highest commendation he could give his Malay friend. 

"By heavens! I shall go to Wajo!" he cried, and a semi- 
circle of heads nodded grave approbation while a slightly 
ironical voice said deliberately — "You are a made man, Tom, 
if you get on the right side of that Rajah of yours." 

"Go in — and look out for yourself," cried another with a 

A Uttle professional jealousy was unavoidable, Wajo, 
on account of its chronic state of disturbance, being closed 
to the white traders; but there was no real ill-will in the 
banter of these men, who, rising with hand-shakes, dropped 
oflF one by one. Lingard went straight aboard his vessel 
and, till morning, walked the poop of the brig with measured 
steps. The riding lights of ships twinkled all round him; 
the lights ashore twinkled in rows, the stars twinkled above 
his head in a black sky; and reflected in the black water of 
the roadstead twinkled far below his feet. And all these 
innumerable and shining points were utterly lost in the im- 
mense darkness. Once he heard faintly the rumbling chain 
of some vessel coming to an anchor far away somewhere 
outside the oflBcial limits of the harbour. A stranger to 
the port — thought Lingard — one of us would have stood 
right in. Perhaps a ship from home? And he felt strangely 



touched at the thought of that ship, weary with months of 
wandering, and daring not to approach the place of rest. At 
sunrise, while the big ship from the West, her sides streaked 
with rust and gray with the salt of the sea, was moving 
slowly in to take up a berth near the shore, Lingard left the 
roadstead on his way to the eastward. 

A heavy gulf thunderstorm was raging, when after a long 
passage and at the end of a sultry calm day, wasted in drifting 
helplessly in sight of his destination, Lingard, taking advan- 
tage of fitful gusts of wind, approached the shores of Wajo. 
With characteristic audacity, he held on his way, closing in 
with a coast to which he was a stranger, and on a night that 
would have appalled any other man ; while at every dazzling 
flash, Hassim's native land seemed to leap nearer at the brig 
— and disappear instantly as though it had crouched low 
for the next spring out of an impenetrable darkness. During 
the long day of the calm, he had obtained from the deck and 
from aloft, such good views of the coast, and had noted the 
lay of the land and the position of the dangers so carefully 
that, though at the precise moment when he gave the order 
to let go the anchor, he had been for some time able to see no 
further than if his head had been wrapped in a woollen blanket, 
yet the next flickering bluish flash showed him the brig, 
anchored almost exactly where he had judged her to be, oflF a 
narrow white beach near the mouth of a river. 

He could see on the shore a high cluster of bamboo huts 
perched upon piles, a small grove of tall palms aU bowed to- 
gether before the blast like stalks of grass, something that 
might have been a pahsade of pointed stakes near the water; 
and far off, a sombre background resembling an immense 
wall — ^the forest-clad hills. Next moment, all this vanished 
utterly from his sight, as if annihilated and, before he had 
time to turn away, came back to view with a sudden crash, 
appearing unscathed and motionless under hooked darts of 
flame, like some legendary coimtry of immortals, withstanding 
the wrath and fire of Heaven. 

Made uneasy by the nature of his holding ground, and 
fearing that in one of the terrific off-shore gusts the brig 


would start her anchor, Lingard remained on deck to watch 
over the safety of his vessel. With one hand upon the lead- 
line which would give him instant warning of the brig be- 
ginning to drag, he stood by the rail, most of the time deaf- 
ened and blinded, but also fascinated, by the repeated swift 
visions of an imknown shore, a sight always so inspiring, as 
much perhaps by its vague suggestion of danger as by the 
hopes of success it never fails to awaken in the heart of a true 
adventurer. And its immutable aspect of profound and still 
repose, seen thus under streams of fire and in the midst of a 
violent uproar, made it appear inconceivably mysterious and 

Between the squalls there were short moments of calm, 
while now and then even the thunder would cease as if to 
draw breath. During one of those intervals, Lingard, tired 
and sleepy, was beginning to doze where he stood, when sud- 
denly it occurred to him that, somewhere below, the sea had 
'spoken in a human voice. It had said, "Praise be to God — " 
land the voice sounded small, clear and confident, like the 
I voice of a child speaking in a cathedral. Lingard gave a 
start and thought — -I've dreamed this — and directly the sea 
said very close to him, "Give a rope." 

The thunder growled wickedly, and Lingard, after shout- 
ing to the men on deck, peered down at the water, until 
at last he made out floating close alongside the upturned 
face of a man with staring eyes that gleamed at him and 
then blinked quickly to a flash of lightning. By that time 
all hands in the brig were wildly active and many ropes- 
ends had been thrown over. Then together with a gust 
of wind, and, as if blown on board, a man tumbled over the 
rail and fell all in a heap upon the deck. Before any one had 
the time to pick him up, he leaped to his feet, causing the 
people around him to step back hurriedly. A sinister blue 
glare showed the bewildered faces and the petrified attitudes 
of men completely deafened by the accompanying peal of 
thunder. After a time, as if to beings plunged in the abyss 
of eternal silence, there came to their ears an unfamiliar 
thin, far-away voice saying — 


"I seek the white man." 

"Here," cried Lingard. Then, when he had the stranger, 
dripping and naked but for a soaked waist-cloth, under the 
lamp of the cabin, he said, " I don't know you." 

"My name is Jaffir, and I come from Pata Hassim, who 
is my chief and your friend. Do you know this ? " 

He held up a thick, gold ring, set with a fairly good 

"I have seen it before on the Rajah's finger," said Lingard, 
looking very grave. 

"It is the witness of the truth I speak — the message from 
Hassim is — 'Depart and forget !'" 

"I don't forget," said Lingard, slowly. "I am not that 
kind of man. What folly is this?" 

It is unnecessary to give at full length the story told by 
Jaffir. It appears that on his return home, after the meeting 
with Lingard, Hassim foimd his relative dying and a strong 
party formed to oppose his rightful successor. The old 
Rajah Tulla died late at night and — as Jaffir put it — be- 
fore the sun rose there were already blows exchanged in the 
courtyard of the ruler's dalam. This was the preliminary 
fight of a civil war, fostered by foreign intrigues; a war of 
jungle and river, of assaulted stockades and forest ambushes. 
In this contest, both parties — according to Jaffib: — displayed 
great courage, and one of them an unswerving devotion to 
what, almost from the first, was a lost cause. Before a month 
elapsed Hassim, though still chief of an armed band, was 
already a fugitive. He kept up the struggle however, with 
some vague notion that Lingard's arrival would turn the 

"For weeks we lived on wild rice; for days we fought with 
nothing but water in our bellies," declaimed Jaffir, in the tone 
of a true fire-eater. 

And then he went on to relate, how, driven steadily down 
to the sea, Hassim, with a small band of followers, had been 
for days holding the stockade by the water-side. 

"But every night some men disappeared," confessed Jaffir. 
"They were weary and hungry and they went to eat with 


their enemies. We are only ten now — ^ten men and a woman 
with the heart of a man, who are to-night starving, and to- 
morrow shall die swiftly. We saw your ship afar aU day; 
but you have come too late. And for fear of treachery and 
lest harm shovdd befall you— his friend — the Rajah gave me 
the ring and I crept on my stomach over the sand, and I 
swam in the night — and I, Jaffir, the best swimmer in Wajo, 
and the slave of Hassim, tell you — ^his message to you is 
'Depart and forget — ' and this is his gift — take." 

He caught hold suddenly of Lingard's hand, thrust roughly 
in-to it the ring, and then for the first time looked round the 
cabin with wondering but fearless eyes. They hngered over 
the semi-circle of bayonets and rested fondly on musket- 
racks. He grunted in admiration. 

"Ya-wa, this is strength!" he murmured as if to himself. 
"But it has come too late." 

"Perhaps not," cried Lingard. 

"Too late," said JaflBr, "we are ten only, and at sunrise 
we go out to die." He went to the cabin door and hesitated 
there with a puzzled air, being unused to locks and door 

" What are you going to do.'' " asked Lingard. 

"I shall swim back," replied Jaffir. "The message is 
spoken and the night can not last forever." 

"You can stop with me," said Lingard, looking at the man 

"Hassim waits," was the curt answer. 

"Did he tell you to return?" asked Lingard. 

"No! What need!" said the other in a surprised tone. 

Lingard seized his hand impulsively. 

"If I had ten men like you," he cried. 

"We are ten, but they are twenty to one," said Jaffir, 

Lingard opened the door. 

"Do you want anything that a man can give?" he asked. 

The Malay had a moment of hesitation, and Lingard 
noticed the sunken eyes, the prominent ribs, and the worn- 
out look of the man. 


"Speak out," he urged with a smile; "the bearer of a 
gift must have a reward." 

"A drink of water and a handful of rice for strength to 
reach the shore," said JaflSr, sturdily. "For over there" — 
he tossed his head — "we had nothing to eat to-day." 

"You shall have it — ^give it to you with my own hands," 
muttered Lingard, 

He did so, and thus lowered himself in Jaffir's estima- 
tion for a time. While the messenger, squatting on the 
floor, ate without haste but with considerable earnestness, 
Lingard thought out a plan of action. In his ignorance as 
to the true state of affairs in the country, to save Hassim from 
the immediate danger of his position was all that he coidd 
reasonably attempt. To that end Lingard proposed to swing 
out his long-boat and send her close inshore to take off Hassim 
and his men. He knew enough of Malays to feel sure that on 
such a night the besiegers, now certain of success, and being, 
Jaffir said, in possession of everything that could float, would 
not be very vigilant, especially on the sea front of the stock- 
ade. The very fact of JaflBr having managed to swim off 
undetected proved that much. The brig's boat could — 
when the frequency of lightning abated — ^approach unseen 
close to the beach, and the defeated party, either stealing 
out one by one or making a rush in a body, would embark 
and be received in the brig. 

This plan was explained to JaflSr, who heard it without 
the slightest mark of interest, being apparently too busy 
eating. When the last grain of rice was gone, he stood up, 
took a long pull at the water bottle, muttered: "I hear. 
Good. I will tell Hassim," and tightening the rag round 
his loins, prepared to go. " Give me time to swim ashore," 
he said, "and when the boat starts, put another light be- 
side the one that burns now like a star above your vessel. 
We shall see and understand. And don't send the boat 
till there is less lightning: a boat is bigger than a man in the 
water. Tell the rowers to pull for the palm-grove and 
cease when an oar, thrust down with a strong arm, touches 
the bottom. Very soon they will hear our hail; but if 


no one comes they must go away before daylight. A 
chief may prefer death to hfe, and we who are left are all 
of true heart. Do you understand, O big man?" 

"The chap has plenty of sense," muttered Lingard to him- 
self, and when they stood side by side on the deck, he said: 
"But there may be enemies on the beach, O Jaffir, and they 
also may shout to deceive my men. So let your hail be 
Lightning I Will you remember?" 

For a time Jaffir seemed to be choking. 

"Lit-ingi Is that right? I say — is that right, O strong 
man? " Next moment he appeared upright and shadowy on 
the rail. 

"Yes. That's right. Go now," said Lingard, and Jaffir 
leaped off, becoming invisible long before he struck the water. 
Then there was a splash ; after a while a spluttering voice cried 
faintly, "Lit-ing! Ah, ha!" and suddenly the next thunder- 
squall burst upon the coast. In the crashing flares of light 
Lingard had again and again the quick vision of a white 
beach, the inclined palm-trees of the grove, the stockade 
by the sea, the forest far away: a vast landscape mysteri- 
ious and still — Hassim's native country sleeping immoved 
under the wrath and fire of Heaven. 


A TRAVELLER visiting Wajo to-day may, if he de- 
serves the confidence of the common people, hear 
the traditional account of the last civil war, together 
with the legend of a chief and his sister, whose mother had 
been a great princess suspected of sorcery and on her death- 
bed had communicated to these two the secrets of the art of 
magic. The chief's sister especially, "with the aspect of a 
child and the fearlessness of a great fighter," became sldlled in 
casting spells. They were defeated by the son of their uncle, 
because — ^will explain the narrator simply — "The courage of 
us Wajo people is so great that magic can do nothing against 
it. I fought in that war. We had them with their backs to 
the sea." And then he will go on to relate in an awed 
tone how on a certain night "when there was such a 
thunderstorm as has been never heard of before or since" 
a ship, resembling the ships of white men, appeared off 
the coast, "as though she had sailed down from the clouds. 
She moved," he will affirm, "with her sails bellying against 
the wind; in size she was like an island; the lightning played 
between her masts which were as high as the summits of 
mountains; a star burned low through the clouds above her. 
We knew it for a star at once because no flame of man's 
kindling could have endured the wind and rain of that night. 
It was such a night that we on the watch hardly dared look 
upon the sea. The heavy rain was beating down our eyelids. 
Aiid when day came, the ship was nowhere to be seen, 
and in the stockade where the day before there were a him- 
dred or more at our mercy, there was no one. The Chief, 
Hassim, was gone, and the lady who was a princess in the 
country — and nobody knows what became of them from that 
day to this. Sometimes traders from our parts talk of having 



heard of them here, and heard of them there, but these are 
the lies of men who go afar for gain. We who live in the 
country believe that the ship sailed back into the clouds 
whence the Lady's magic made her come. Did we not see 
the ship with our own eyes? And as to Rajah Hassim and 
his sister, Mas Immada, some men say one thing and some 
another, but God alone knows the truth." 

Such is the traditional account of Lingard's visit to the 
shores of Boni. And the truth is he came and went the same 
night; for, when the dawn broke on a cloudy sky the brig, 
under reefed canvas and smothered in sprays, was storming 
along to the southward on her way out of the Gulf. Lingard, 
watching over the rapid course of his vessel, looked ahead 
with anxious eyes and more than once asked himself with 
wonder, why, after all, was he thus pressing her under all 
the sail she could carry. His hair was blown about by 
the wind, his mind was full of care and of the indistinct 
shapes of many new thoughts, and under his feet, the obedient 
brig dashed headlong from wave to wave. 

Her owner and commander did not know where he was 
going. That adventurer had only a confused notion of 
being on the threshold of a big adventure. There was some- 
thing to be done, and he felt he would have to do it. It was 
expected of him. The seas expected it; the land expected it. 
Men also. The story of war and of suffering; Jaffir's 
display of fidelity, the sight of Hassim and his sister, the 
night, the tempest, the coast under streams of fire — all this 
made one inspiring manifestation of a life calling to him 
distinctly for interference. But what appealed to him most 
was the silent, the complete, unquestioning, and apparently 
uncurious, trust of these people. They came away from death 
straight into his arms as it were, and remained in them pas- 
sive as though there had been no such thing as doubt or 
hope or desire. This amazing unconcern seemed to put him 
under a heavy load of obligation. 

He argued to himself that had not these defeated men 
expected everything from him they could not have been 
so indifferent to his action. Their dumb quietude stirred 


him more than the most ardent pleading. Not a word, not 
a whisper, not a questioning look even! They did not ask! 
It flattered him. He was also rather glad of it, because if 
the unconscious part of him was perfectly certain of its action, 
he, himself, did not know what to do with those bruised and 
battered beings a playful fate had dehvered suddenly into 
his hands. 

He had received the fugitives personally, had helped some 
over the rail; in the darkness, slashed about by hghtning, 
he had guessed that not one of them was unwounded, and 
in the midst of tottering shapes he wondered how on earth 
they had managed to reach the long-boat that had brought 
them off. He caught unceremoniously in his arms the small- 
est of these shapes and carried it into the cabin, then without 
looking at his light burden ran up again on deck to get the 
brig under way. While shouting out orders he was dimly 
aware of someone hovering near his elbow. It was Hassim. 

"I am not ready for war," he explained, rapidly, over his 
shoulder, "and to-morrow there may be no wind." 

Afterwards for a time he forgot everybody and everything 
while he conned the brig through the few outlying dangers. 
But in half an hour, and running off with the wind on the 
quarter, he was quite clear of the coast and breathed freely. 
It was only then that he approached two others on that poop 
where he was accustomed in moments of difficulty to com- 
mune alone with his craft. Hassim had called his sister out 
of the cabin; now and then Lingard could see them with 
fierce distinctness, side by side, and with twined arms, looking 
towards the mysterious country that seemed at every flash 
to leap away farther from the brig — unscathed and fading. 

The thought uppermost in Lingard's mind was: "What 
on earth am I going to do with them? " And no one seemed 
to care what he would do. Jaffir with eight others quartered 
on the main hatch, looked to each other's wounds and con- 
versed interminably in low tones, cheerful and quiet, Uke 
well-behaved children. Each of them had saved his kris, 
but Lingard had to make a distribution of cotton cloth out 
of his trade-goods. Whenever he passed by them, they all 


looked after him gravely. Hassim and Immada lived in the 
cuddy. The chief's sister took the air only in the evening 
and those two could be heard every night, invisible and mur- 
muring in the shadows of the quarter-deck. Every Malay 
on board kept respectfully away from them. 

Lingard, on the poop, listened to the soft voices, rising 
and faUing, in a melancholy cadence; sometimes the woman 
cried out as if in anger or in pain. He would stop short. 
The sound of a deep sigh would float up to him on the stillness 
of the night. Attentive stars surroimded the wandering 
brig and on all sides their hght fell through a vast silence 
upon a noiseless sea. Lingard would begin again to pace the 
deck, muttering to himself. 

"Belarab's the man for this job. His is the only place 
where I can look for help, but I don't think I know enough 
to find it. I wish I had old Jorgenson here — ^just for ten 

This Jorgenson knew things that had happened a long 
time ago, and lived amongst men efficient in meeting the ac- 
cidents of the day, but who did not care what would happen 
to-morrow and who had no time to remember yesterday. 
Strictly speaking, he did not live amongst them. He only 
appeared there from time to time. He lived in the native 
quarter, with a native woman, in a native house standing 
in the middle of a plot of fenced ground where grew plan- 
tains, and furnished only with mats, cooking pots, a queer 
fishing net on two sticks, and a small mahogany case with a 
lock and a silver plate engraved with the words "Captain 
H. C. Jorgenson. Barque Wild Rose." 

It was like an inscription on a tomb. The Wild Rose was 
dead, and so was Captain H. C. Jorgenson, and the sextant 
case was all that was left of them. Old Jorgenson, gaunt 
and mute, would turn up at meal times on board any trading 
vessel in the Roads, and the stewards — Chinamen or mulat- 
tos — would sulkily put on an extra plate without waiting 
for orders. When the seamen traders fore-gathered noisily 
round a glittering cluster of bottles and glasses on a lighted 
verandah, old Jorgenson would emerge up the stairs as if 


from a dark sea, and, stepping up with a kind of tottering 
jauntiness, would help himself in the first tumbler to hand. 

"I drink to you all. No — no chair." 

He would stand silent over the talking group. His taci- 
turnity was as eloquent as the repeated warning of the slave 
of the feast. His flesh had gone the way of all flesh, his spirit 
had sunk in the turmoil of his past, but his immense and 
bony frame survived as if made of iron. His hands trembled 
but his eyes were steady. He was supposed to know details 
about the end of mysterious men and of mysterious enter- 
prises. He was an evident failure himself, but he was be- 
lieved to know secrets that would make the fortune of any 
man; yet there was also a general impression that his knowl- 
edge was not of that nature which would make it profitable 
for a moderately prudent person. 

This powerful skeleton, dressed in faded blue serge and 
without any kind of linen, existed anyhow. Sometimes, if 
offered the job, he piloted a home ship through the Straits 
of Rhio, after, however, assuring the Captain: 

"You don't want a pilot; a man could go through with his 
eyes shut. But if you want me, I'll come. Ten dollars." 

Then, after seeing his charge clear of the last island of the 
group he would go back thirty miles in a canoe, with two 
old Malays who seemed to be in some way his followers. 
To travel thirty miles at sea xmder the equatorial sun and in 
a cranky dug-out where once down you must not move, is an 
achievement that requires the endurance of a fakir and the 
virtue of a salamander. Ten dollars was cheap and generally 
he was in demand. When times were hard he would borrow 
five dollars from any of the adventurers with the remark: 

"I can't pay you back very soon, but the girl must eat, 
and if you want to know anything, I can tell you." 

It was remarkable that nobody ever smiled at that "any- 
thing." The usual thing was to say — 

"Thank you, old man; when I am pushed for a bit of in- 
formation I'll come to you." 

Jorgenson nodded then and would say : "Remember that 
unless you young chaps are like we men who ranged about 


here years ago, what I could tell you would be worse than 

It was from Jorgenson, who had his favourites with whom 
he was less silent, that Lingard had heard of Darat-es-Salam, 
the "Shore of Refuge." Jorgenson had, as he expressed it, 
"known the inside of that country just after the high old 
times when the white-clad Padris preached and fought all 
over Sumatra till the Dutch shook in their shoes." Only 
he did not say "shook" and "shoes" but the above para- 
phrase conveys well enough his contemptuous meaning. 
Lingard tried now to remember and piece together the prac- 
tical bits of old Jbrgenson's amazing tales; but all that had 
remained with him was an approximate idea of the locality 
and a very strong but confused notion of the dangerous na- 
ture of its approaches. He hesitated, and the brig, answering 
in her movements to the state of the man's mind, lingered on 
the road, seemed to hesitate also, swinging this way and that 
on the days of calm. 

It was just because of that hesitation that a big New York 
ship, loaded with oil in cases for Japan, and passing through 
the Billiton passage, sighted one morning a very smart brig 
being hove-to right in the fair-way and a httle to the east of 
Carimata. The lank skipper, in a frockcoat, and the big mate 
with heavy moustaches, judged her almost too pretty for a 
Britisher, and wondered at the man on board laying his 
topsail to the mast for no reason that they could see. The 
big ship's sails fanned her along, flapping in the light air, 
and when the brig was last seen far astern she had still her 
mainyard aback as if waiting for someone. But when, next 
day, a London tea-clipper passed on the same track, she 
saw no pretty brig hesitating, all white and still at the part- 
ing of the ways. All that night Lingard had talked with 
Hassim while the stars streamed from east to west like an 
immense river of sparks above their heads. Immada listened, 
sometimes exclaiming low, sometimes holding her breath. 
She clapped her hands once. A faint dawn appeared. 

"You shall be treated like my father in the coimtry," 
Hassim was saying. A heavy dew dripped off the rigging 


and the darkened sails were black on the pale azure of the 
sky. "You shall be the father who advises for good " 

"I shall be a steady friend, and as a friend I want to be 
treated — no more," said Lingard. "Take back your ring." 

"Why do you scorn my gift?" asked Hassim, with a sad 
and ironic smile. 

" Take it," said Lingard, " and call it still mine. How can I 
forget that, when facing death, you thought of my safety? 
There are many dangers before us. We shall be often 
separated — ^to work better for the same end. If ever you 
want help at once and I am within reach, send me a message 
with this ring and if I am alive I will not fail you." He 
looked around at the pale day-break. "I shall talk to Bel- 
arab straight — like we whites do. I have never seen him, 
but I am a strong man. Belarab must help us to reconquer 
your country and when our end is attained I won't let him 
eat you up." 

Hassim took the ring and inclined his head. 

"It's time for us to be moving," said Lingard. He felt 
a slight tug at his sleeve. He looked back and caught Im- 
mada in the act of pressing her forehead to the gray flannel. 
"Doii't, child!" he said, softly. 

The sun rose above the faint blue line of the Shore of 

The hesitation was over. The man and the vessel, working 
in accord, had found their way to the faint blue shore. Be- 
fore the sun had descended half-way to its rest the brig was 
anchored within a gunshot of the slimy mangroves, in a 
place where for a hundred years or more no white man's 
vessel had been entrusted to the hold of the bottom. The 
adventurers of two centuries ago had no doubt known of 
that anchorage for they were very ignorant and incompara- 
bly audacious. If it is true, as some say, that the spirits of 
the dead haimt the places where the living have sinned and 
toiled, then they might have seen a white long-boat, pulled by 
eight oars and steered by a man sunburnt and bearded, a 
cabbage-leaf hat on head, and pistols in his belt, skirting the 
black mud, full of twisted roots, in search of a likely opening. 


Creek after creek was passed and the boat crept on slowly 
like a monstrous water-spider with a big body and eight 
slender legs. . . . Did you follow with your ghostly eyes the 
quest of this obscure adventurer of yesterday, you shades 
of forgotten adventurers who, in leather jerkins and sweating 
under steel helmets, attacked with long rapiers the palisades 
of the strange heathen, or, musket on shoulder and match 
in cock, guarded timber blockhouses built upon the banks of 
rivers that command good trade? You, who, wearied with 
the toil of fighting, slept wrapped in frieze mantles on the 
sand of quiet beaches, dreaming of fabulous diamonds and 
of a far-off home. 

"Here's an opening," said Lingard to Hassim, who sat 
at his side, just as the sun was setting away to his left. 
"Here's an opening big enough for a ship. It's the entrance 
we are looking for, I believe. We shall puU all night up this 
creek if necessary and it's the very devil if we don't come 
upon Belarab's lair before daylight." 

He shoved the tiller hard over and the boat, swerving 
sharply, vanished from the coast. 

And perhaps the ghosts of old adventurers nodded wisely 
their ghostly heads and exchanged the ghost of a wistful 

WHAT'S the matter with King Tom of late?" 
would ask someone when, all the cards in a heap 
on the table, the traders lying back in their chairs 
took a spell from a hard gamble. 

"Tom has learned to hold his tongue, he must be up to 
some dam' good thing," opined another; while a man with 
hooked features and of German extraction who was supposed 
to be agent for a Dutch crockery house — the famous "Sphinx" 
mark — ^broke in resentfully: 

"Nefer mind him, shentlemens, he's matt, matt as a 
Marsh Hase. Dree monats ago I call on board his prig to 
talk pizness. And he says like dis — 'Glear oudt.' 'Vat 
for?' I say. 'Glear oudt before I shuck you oferboard.' 
Gott-for-dam! Iss dat the vay to talk pizness? I vant sell 
him ein liddle case first chop grockery for trade and " 

"Ha, ha, ha! I don't blame Tom," interrupted the owner 
of a f)earling schooner, who had come into the Roads for 
stores. "Why, Mosey, there isn't a mangy cannibal left 
in the whole of New Guinea that hasn't got a cup and saucer 
of your providing. You've flooded the market, savee?" 

Jorgenson^too^^;>^..skfflw4;*»a-ftfe tl 1 1 1 j;^ 1 1 1 1 fflg^ble. 

"BSiBaiiie you are a Dutch spy," he said, suddenly, in an 
awful tone. 

The agent of the Sphinx mark jumped up in a sudden fury. 

"Vat? Vat? Shentlemens, you all know me!" Not a 
muscle moved in the faces aroimd. "Know me," he stam- 
mered with wet lips. "Vat, fiinf year — ^berfegtly acquaint 
— grockery — Verfluchte sponsher Ich? Spy. Vat for spy? 
Vordamte English pedlars!" 

The door slammed. "Is that so?" asked a New England 
voice. "Why don't you let dayhght into him?" 



"Oh, we can't do that here," murmured one of the players. 
"Your deal. Trench, let us get on." 

"Can't you?" drawled the New England voice, "You law- 
abiding, get-a-sunmions, act-of-parliament lot of sons of 
Belial — can't you? Now, look a-here, these Colt pistols 

I am selling ' ' He took the pearler aside and could be heard 

talking earnestly in the corner. "See — you load — and — 
see?" There were rapid cheks. "Simple, isn't it?" And 
if any trouble — say with your divers — "click, click, click — 
"Through and through — like a sieve — warranted to cure the 
worst kind of cussedness in any nigger. Yes, siree ! A case 
of twenty-four or single spe-cimens — as you like. "• No? 
Shot-guns — ^rifles? No! Waal, I guess you're of no use 
to me, but I could do a deal with that Tom — what d'ye call 
him? Where d'ye catch him? Everywhere — eh? Waal 
— that's nowhere. But I shall find him some day — ^yes, 

Jflrgenson, utterly disregarded, looked down dreamily at 
the faUing cards. "Spy — I teU you," he muttered to him- 
self. "If you want to know anything, ask me." 

When Lingard returned from Wajo — after an uncommonly 
long absence — everyone remarked a great change. He 
was less talkative and not so noisy, he was still hospitable 
but his hospitality was less expansive, and the man who was 
never so happy as when discussing impossibly wild projects 
with half a dozen congenial spirits often showed a disinclina- 
tion to meet his best friends. In a word, he returned much 
less of a good fellow than he went away. His visits to the 
Settlements were not less frequent, but much shorter; 
and when there he was always in a hurry to be gone. 

During two years the brig had, in her way, as hard a life 
of it as the man. Swift and trim she flitted amongst the 
islands of little known groups. She could be descried afar 
from lonely headlands, a white speck travelling fast over the 
blue sea; the apathetic keepers of rare lighthouses dotting the 
great highway to the east came to know the cut of her topsails. 
They saw her passing east, passing west. They had faint 
ghmpses of her flying with masts aslant in the mist of a rain- 


squall, or could observe her at leisure, upright and with shiver- 
ing sails, forging ahead through a long day of unsteady airs. 
Men saw her battling with a heavy monsoon in the Bay 
of Bengal, lying becalmed in the Java Sea, or gliding out sud- 
denly from behind a point of land, graceful and silent in the 
clear moonlight. Her activity was the subject of excited but 
low-toned conversations, which would be interrupted when 
her master appeared. 

"Here he is. Came in last night," whispered the gossiping 

Lingard did not see the covert glances of respect tempered 
by irony; he nodded and passed on. 

"Hey, Tom ! No time for a drink? " would shout someone. 

He would shake his head without looking back — ^far away 

Florid and burly he could be seen, for a day or two, getting 
out of dusty gharries, striding in sunshine from the Occidental 
Bank to the Harbour Office, crossing the Esplanade, disap- 
pearing down a street of Chinese shops, while at his elbow 
and as tall as himself, old Jorgenson paced along, lean and 
faded, obstinate and disregarded, like a haunting spirit from 
the past eager to step back into the life of men. 

Lingard ignored this wreck of an adventurer, sticking to 
him closer than his shadow, and the other did not try to 
attract attention. He waited patiently at the doors of offices, 
would vanish at tiffin time, would invariably turn up again 
in the evening and then he kept his place tiU Lingard went 
aboard for the night. The pohce-peons on duty looked dis- 
dainfully at the phantom of Captain H. C. Jbrgenson, Bar- 
que Wild Rose, wandering on the silent quay or standing 
still for hours at the edge of the sombre roadstead speckled 
by the anchor lights of ships — an adventurous soul longing 
to recross the waters of oblivion. 

The sampan-men, sculling lazily homeward past the black 
hull of the brig at anchor, could hear far into the night the 
drawl of the New England voice escaping through the lifted 
panes of the cabin skylight. Snatches of nasal sentences 
floated in the stillness around the still craft. 


"Yes, siree! Mexican war rifles — ^good as new — six in 
a case — ^my people in Baltimore — ^that's so. Hundred and 
twenty rounds thrown in for each specimen — marked to suit 
your re-quirements. Suppose — ^musical instruments, this 
side up with care — Show's that for your taste? No, no! 
Cash down — my people in Bait — Shooting sea gulls you say? 
Waal! It's a risky business — see here — ten per cent, dis- 
count — it's out of my own pocket " 

As time wore on, and nothing happened, at least nothing 
that one could hear of, the excitement died out. Lingard's 
new attitude was accepted as only "his way." There 
was nothing in it, maintained some. Others dissented. 
A good deal of curiosity, however, remained, and the faint 
rumour of something big being in preparation followed him 
into every harbour he went to, from Rangoon to Hong- 

He felt nowhere so much at home as when his brig was 
anchored on the inner side of the great stretch of shoals. 
The centre of his life had shifted about four hundred miles — 
from the Straits of Malacca to the Shore of Refuge — and 
when there he felt himself within the circle of another exist- 
ence, governed by his impulse, nearer his desire. Hassim 
and Immada would come down to the coast and wait for him 
on the islet. He always left them with regret. 

At the end of the first stage in each trip, JSrgenson waited 
for him at the top of the boat-stairs and without a word fell 
into step at his elbow. They seldom exchanged three words 
in a day; but one evening about six months before Lingard's 
last trip, as they were crossing the short bridge over the 
canal where native craft lie moored in clusters, Jorgenson 
lengthened his stride and came abreast. It was a moonlight 
night and nothing stirred on earth but the shadows of high 
clouds. Lingard took off his hat and drew in a long sigh 
in the tepid breeze. Jorgenson spoke suddenly in a cautious 
tone: "The new Rajah Tulla smokes opium and is sometimes 
dangerous to speak to. There is a lot of discontent in Wajo 
amongst the big people." 

"Grood! Good!" whispered Lingard, excitedly, off his 


guard for once. Then — "How the devil do you know any- 
thing about it?" he asked. 

JOrgenson pointed at the mass of praiis, coasting boats, 
and sampans that, jammed up together in the canal, lay 
covered with mats and flooded by the cold moonlight with 
here and there a dim lantern burning amongst the confusion 
of high sterns, spars, masts and lowered sails. 

"There!" he said, as they moved on, and their hatted and 
clothed shadows fell heavily on the queer-shaped vessels that 
carry the fortunes of brown men upon a shallow sea. " There ! 
I can sit with them, I can talk to them, I can come and go 
as I like. They know me now — it's time — thirty-five years. 
Some of them give a plate of rice and a bit of fish to the white 
man. That's all I get — after thirty -five years — given up to 

He was silent for a time. 

"I was like you once," he added, and then laying his hand 
on Lingard's sleeve, murmured — "Are you very deep in this 

"To the very last cent," said Lingard, quietly, and looking 
straight before him. 

The ghtter of the roadstead went out, and the masts of 
anchored ships vanished in the invading shadow of a cloud. 

"Drop it," whispered Jorgenson. 

"I am in debt," said Lingard, slowly, and stood stiU. 

"Drop it!" 

"Never dropped anything in my life." 

"Drop it!" 

"By God, I won't!" cried Lingard, stamping his foot. 

There was a pause. 

"I was like you — once," repeated JSrgenson. "Five and 
thirty years — never dropped anything. And what you can 
do is only child's play to some jobs I have had on my hands — 
understand that — great man as you are. Captain Lingard 
of the Lightning. . . . You should have seen the Wild 
Rose," he added with a sudden break in his voice. 

Lingard leaned over the guard-rail of the pier. Jorgenson 
came closer. 


"I set fire to her with my own hands!" he said in a vibrat- 
ing tone and very low, as if making a monstrous confession. 

"Poor devil," muttered Lingard, profoundly moved by 
the tragic enormity of the act. "I suppose there was no 
way out?" 

"I wasn't going to let her rot to pieces in some Dutch 
port," said Jorgenson, gloomily. "Did you ever hear of 

"Something — ^I don't remember now " muttered Lin- 
gard, who felt a chill down his back at the idea of his own 
vessel decaying slowly in some Dutch port. "He died — 
didn't he? " he asked, absently, while he wondered whether he 
would have the pluck to set fire to the brig — on an emergency. 

"Cut his throat on the beach below Fort Rotterdam," 
said Jorgenson. dffis gaunt figure wavered in the imsteady 
moonshine as though made of mist^ "Yes. He broke some 
trade regulation or other and talked big about law-courts 
and legal trials to the lieutenant of the Komet. 'Certainly,' 
says the hound. 'Jurisdiction of Macassar, I will take your 
schooner there.' Then comiag into the roads he tows her 
full tilt on a ledge of rocks on the north side — smash! When 
she was half full of water he takes his hat off to Dawson. 
'There's the shore,' says he — 'go and get yoiu* legal trial, 

you Englishman ' " He lifted a long arm and shook 

his fist at the moon which dodged suddenly behind a cloud. 
"All was lost. Poor Dawson walked the streets for months 
barefooted and in rags. Then one day he begged a knife 
from some charitable soul, went down to take a last look 
at the wreck, and " 

"I don't interfere with the Dutch," interrupted Lingard, 
impatiently. "I want Hassim to get back his own " 

"And suppose the Dutch want the things just so," returned 
Jorgenson. "Anyway there is a devil in such work — drop 

"Look here," said Lingard, "I took those people off when 
they were in their last ditch. That means something. I ought 
not to have meddled and it would have been all over in a few 
hours. I must have meant something when I interfered. 


whether I knew it or not. I meant it then — and did not 
know it. Very well. I mean it now — and do know it. When 
you save people from death you take a share in their life. 
That's how I look at it." 

JSrgenson shook his head. 

"Foolishness!" he cried, then asked softly in a voice that 
trembled with curiosity — "Where did you leave them?" 

"With Belarab," breathed out Lingard. "You knew 
him in the old days." 

"I knew him, I knew his father," burst out the other in an 
excited whisper. "Whom did I not know? I knew Sentot 
when he was King of the South Shore of Java and the Dutch 
ofifered a price for his head — enough to make any man's for- 
tune. He slept twice on board the Wild Rose when things 
had begun to go wrong with him. I knew him, I knew all his 
chiefs, the priests, the fighting men, the old regent who lost 

heart and went over to the Dutch, I knew "he stammered 

as if the words could not come out, gave it up and sighed — 
"Belarab's father escaped with me," he began again, quietly, 
"and joined the Padris in Sumatra. He rose to be a great 
leader. Belarab was a youth then. Those were the times. 
I ranged the coast — and laughed at the cruisers; I saw every 
battle fought in the Battak country — and I saw the Dutch 
run; I was at the taking of Singal and escaped. I was the 
white man who advised the chiefs of Manangkabo. There 
was a lot about me in the Dutch papers at the time. They 

said I was a Frenchman turned Mohammedan " he 

swore a great oath, and, reeling against the guard rail, panted, 
muttering curses on newspapers. 

"Well, Belarab has the job in hand," said Lingard, com- 
posedly. "He is the chief man on the Shore of Refuge. 
There are others, of course. He has sent messages north 
and south. We must have men." 

"All the devils unchained," said Jorgenson. "You have 
done it and now — look out — look out. ..." 

"Nothing can go wrong as far as I can see," argued Lin- 
gard. "They all know what's to be done. I've got them in 
hand. You don't think Belarab unsafe? Do you?" 


"Haven't seen him for fifteen years — but the whole 
thing's unsafe," growled Jorgenson. 

"I tell you I've fixed it so that nothing can go wrong. It 
would be better if I had a white man over there to look after 
things generally. There is a good lot of stores and arms — 
and Belarab would bear watching — no doubt. Are you in 
any want? " he added, putting his hand in his pocket. 

"No, there's plenty to eat in the house," answered Jorgen- 
son, curtly. "Drop it," he burst out. "It would be better 
for you to jump overboard at once. Look at me. I came 
out a boy of eighteen. I can speak EngUsh, I can spreak 
Dutch, I can speak every cursed lingo of these islands — I 
remember things that would make your hair stand on end — 
but I have forgotten the language of my own country. I've 
traded, I've fought, I never broke my word to white or na- 
tive. And, look at me. If it hadn't been for the girl I 
would have died in a ditch ten years ago. Everything left 
me — ^youth, money, strength, hope — the very sleep. But 
she stuck by the wreck." 

"That says a lot for her and something for you," said 
Lingard, cheerily. 

Jorgenson shook his head. 

"That's the worst of all," he said with slow emphasis. 
"That's the end. I came to them from the other side of the 
earth and they took me and— see what they made of me." 

"What place do you belong to?" asked Lingard. 

"Tromsoe," groaned out Jorgenson, "I will never see 
snow again," he sobbed out, his face in his hands. 

Lingard looked at him in silence. 

"Would you come with me?" he said. "As I told you, 
I am in want of a " 

"I would see you damned fiirst!" broke out the other, 
savagely. " I am an old white loafer, but you don't get me to 
meddle in their infernal affairs. They have a devil of their 
own " 

"The thing simply can't fail. I've calculated every move. 
I've guarded against everything. I am no fool." 

"Yes — you are. Good-night." 


"Well, good-bye," said Lingard, calmly. 

He stepped into his boat, and Jorgenson walked up the 
jetty. Lingard, clearing the yoke lines, heard him call out 
ifroma distance: 

"Drop it!" 

"I sail before sunrise," he shouted in answer, and went on 

When he came up from his cabin after an uneasy night, 
it was dark yet. A lank figure strolled across the deck. 

"Here I am," said Jorgenson, huskily. "Die there or 
here — all one. But, if I die there, remember the girl must 

Lingard was one of the few who had seen Jorgenson's girl. 
She had a wrinkled brown face, a lot of tangled gray hair, a 
few black stumps of teeth, and had been married to him lately 
by an enterprising young missionary from Bukit Timah. 
What her appearance might have been once when Jorgenson 
gave for her three hundred dollars and several brass guns, 
it was impossible to say. All that was left of her youth 
was a pair of eyes, undimmed and mournful, which, when she 
was alone, seemed to look stonily into the past of two lives. 
When Jorgenson was near they followed his movements with 
anxious pertinacity. And now within the sarong thrown 
over the gray head they were dropping unseen tears while 
Jorgenson's girl rocked herself to and fro, squatting alone 
in a comer of the dark hut. 

"Don't you worry about that," said Lingard, grasping 
Jorgenson's hand. "She shall want for nothing. All I 
expect you to do is to look a little after Belarab's morals 
when I am away. One more trip I must make, and then 
we shall be ready to go ahead. I've foreseen every single 
thing. Trust me!" 

' Li this way did the restless shade of Captain H. C. Jorgen-^ 
son recross the waters of oblivion to step back into the life of 


FOR two years, Lingard, who had thrown himself 
body and soul into the great enterprise, had lived 
in the long intoxication of slowly preparing suc- 
cess. No thought of failure had crossed his mind, and no 
price apjjeared too heavy to pay for such a magnificent 
achievement. It was nothing less than bringing Hassim 
triumphantly back to that cotmtry seen once at night under 
the low clouds and in the incessant tumult of thunder. When 
at the conclusion of some long talk with Hassim, who for the 
twentieth time perhaps had related the story of his wrongs 
and his struggle, he lifted his big arm and shaking his fist 
above his head, shouted: "We will stir them up. We will 
wake up the country!" he was, without knowing it in the 
least, making a complete confession of the idealism 
hidden under the simplicity of his strength. He would 
wake up the country! That was the fundamental and 
unconscious emotion on which were engrafted his need 
of action, the primitive sense of what was due to justice, 
to gratitude, to friendship, the sentimental pity for the hard 
lot of Immada — ^poor child — the proud conviction that of 
all the men in the world, in his world, he alone had the means 
and the pluck "to lift up the big end" of such an adventure. 

Money was wanted and men were wanted, and he had 
obtained enough of both in two years from that day when, 
pistols in his belt and a cabbage-leaf hat on head, he had 
unexpectedly, and at early dawn, confronted in perfect silence 
that mysterious Belarab, who himself was for a moment too 
astounded for speech at the sight of a white face. 

The sun had not yet cleared the forests of the interior, 
but a sky already full of light arched over a dark oval lagoon, 
over wide fields as yet fidl of shadows, that seemed slowly 



changing into the whiteness of the morning mist. There 
were huts, fences, palisades, big houses that, erected on lofty 
piles, were seen above the tops of clustered fruit trees, as if 
suspended in the air. 

Such was the aspect of Belarab's settlement when Lingard 
set his eyes on it for the first time. There were all these 
things, a great number of faces at the back of the spare and 
mufl3ed-up figure confronting him, and in the swiftly in- 
creasing light a complete stillness that made the murmur 
of the word "Marhaba" (welcome) pronoimced at last by the 
chief, perfectly audible to every one of his followers. The 
body-guards who stood about him in black skull caps and 
with long-shafted lances, preserved an impassive aspect. 
Across open spaces men could be seen running to the water- 
side. A group of women standing on a low knoll gazed 
intently, and nothing of them but the heads showed above 
the imstirring stalks of a maize field. Suddenly within a 
cluster of empty huts near by the voice of an invisible hag 
was heard scolding with shrill fury an invisible young girl. 

"Strangers! You want to see the strangers? devoid 
of all decency ! Must I so lame and old husk the rice alone? 
May evil befall thee and the strangers! May they never 
find favour. May they be pursued with swords ! I am old. 
I am old. There is no good in strangers. girl! May 
they burn." 

"Welcome," repeated Belarab, gravely, and looking 
straight into Lingard's eyes. 

Lingard spent six days that time in Belarab's settlement. 
Of these, three were passed in observing each other without 
a question being asked or a hint given as to the object in 
view. Lingard lounged on the fine mats with which the 
chief had furnished a small bamboo house outside a fortified 
enclosure, where a white flag with a green border fluttered 
on a high and slender pole but still below the walls of long, 
high-roofed buildings, raised forty feet or more on hard, 

wood posts. 

Far away the inland forests were tinted a shinmiermg 
blue, like the forests of a dream. On the seaward side the 


belt of great trunks and matted undergrowth came to the 
western shore of the oval lagoon; and in the pure freshness 
of the air the groups of brown houses reflected in the water 
or seen above the waving green of the fields, the clumps of 
palm-trees, the fenced-in plantations, the groves of fruit trees, 
made up a picture of sumptuous prosperity. 

Above the buildings, the men, the women, the still sheet 
of water and the great plain of crops glistening with dew, 
stretched the exalted, the miraculous peace of a cloudless 
sky. And no road seemed to lead into this country of splen- 
dour and stillness. One coidd not believe the imquiet sea 
was so near, with its gifts and its unending menace. Even 
during the months of storms, the great clamour rising from 
the whitened expanse of the shallows dwelt high in the air 
in a vast murmur, now feeble now stronger, that seemed 
to swing back and forth on the wind above the earth without 
any one being able to tell whence it came. It was like the 
solemn chant of a waterfall swelling and dying away above 
the woods, the fields, above the roofs of houses and the heads 
of men, above the secret peace of that hidden and flourishing 
settlement of vanquished fanatics, fugitives and outcasts. 

Every afternoon Belarab, foUowed by an escort that stop- 
j)ed outside the door, entered alone the house of his guest. 
He gave the salutation, inquired after his health, conversed 
about insignificant things with an inscrutable mien. But 
all the time the steadfast gaze of his thoughtful eyes seemed 
to seek the truth within that white face. In the cool of the 
evening, before the sun had set, they talked together, pass- 
ing and repassing between the rugged pillars of the grove near 
the gate of the stockade. The escort away in the oblique 
sunlight, followed with their eyes the strolling figures ap- 
pearing and vanishing behind the trees. Many words were 
pronoimced, but nothing was said that would disclose the 
thoughts of the two men. They clasped hands demonstra- 
tively before separating, and the heavy slam of the gate 
was followed by the triple thud of the wooden bars dropped 
into iron clamps. 

On the third night, Lingard was awakened from a light 


sleep by the sound of whispering outside. A black shadow 
obscured the stars in the doorway, and a man entering sud- 
denly, stood above his couch, while another could be seen 
squatting — ^a dark lump on the threshold of the hut. 

"Fear not. I am Belarab," said a cautious voice. 

"I was not afraid," whispered Lingard. "It is the man 
coming in the dark and without warning who is in danger." 

"And did you not come to me without warning? I said 
'welcome — ' it was as easy for me to say 'kiU him.' " 

"You were within reach of my arm. We would have died 
together," retorted Lingard, quietly. 

The other clicked his tongue twice, and his indistinct 
shape seemed to sink half way through the floor. 

"It was not written thus before we were born," he said, 
sitting cross-legged near the mats, and in a deadened voice. 
"Therefore you are my guest. Let the talk between us be 
straight like the shaft of a spear and shorter than the re- 
mainder of this night. What do you want?" 

"First, your long life," answered Lingard, leaning forward 
towards the gleam of a pair of eyes, "and then — ^your help." 


THE faint murmur of the words spoken on that night 
lingered for a long time in Lingard's ears, more persist- 
ent than the memory of an uproar; he looked with a 
fixed gaze at the stars burning peacefully in the square of the 
doorway, while after listening in silence to all he had to say, 
Belarab, as if seduced by the strength and audacity of the 
white man, opened his heart without reserve. He talked 
of his youth surrounded by the fury of fanaticism and 
war, of battles on the hills, of advances through the 
forests, of men's unswerving piety, of their unextinguishable 
hate. Not a single wandering cloud obscured the gentle 
splendour of the rectangular patch of starlight framed 
in the opaque blackness of the hut. Belarab murmured 
on of a succession of reverses, of the ring of disasters narrow- 
ing round men's fading hopes and undiminished courage. 
He whispered of defeat and flight, of the days of despair, 
of the nights without sleep, of unending pursuit, of the 
bewildered horror and sombre fury, of their women and 
children killed in the stockade before the besieged sallied 
forth to die. 

"I have seen all this before I was in years a man," he 
cried, low. 

His voice vibrated. In the pause that succeeded they 
heard a light sigh of the sleeping follower who, clasping his 
legs above his ankles, rested his forehead on his knees. 

"And there was amongst us," began Belarab again, "one 
white man who remained to the end, who was faithful with 
his strength, with his courage, with his wisdom. A great man. 
He had great riches but a greater heart." 

The memory of Jbrgenson, emaciated and gray-haired, 
and trying to borrow five dollars to get something to eat 



for the girl, passed before Lingard suddenly upon the pacific 
glitter of the stars. 

"He resembled you," pursued Belarab, abruptly. "We 
escaped with him, and in his ship came here. It was a soli- 
tude. The forest came near to the sheet of water, the rank 
grass waved upon the heads of tall men. Telal, my father, 
died of weariness; we were only a few, and we all nearly 
died of trouble and sadness — ^here. On this spot! And no 
enemies could tell where we had gone. It was the Shore of 
Refuge — and starvation." 

He droned on in the night, with rising and falling inflec- 
tions. He told how his desperate companions wanted to go 
out and die fighting on the sea against the ships from the west, 
the ships with high sides and white sails; and how, unflinching 
and alone, he kept them battling with the thorny bush, with 
the rank grass, with the soaring and enormous trees. Lingard, 
leaning on his elbow and staring through the door, recalled 
the image of the wide fields outside, sleeping now, in an im- 
mensity of serenity and starlight. This quiet and almost 
invisible talker had done it all; in him was the origin, the 
creation, the fate; and in the wonder of that thought the 
shadowy miu-muring figure acquired a gigantic greatness of 
significance, as if it had been the embodiment of some nat- 
ural force, of a force forever masterful and undying. 

"And even now my life is unsafe as if I were their enemy," 
said Belarab, mournfully. "Eyes do not kill, nor angry 
words; and curses have no power, else the Dutch would not 
grow fat Hving on our land, and I would not be alive to-night. 
Do you understand? Have you seen the men who fought 
in the old days? They have not forgotten the times of war. 
I have given them homes and quiet hearts and full bellies. 
I alone. And they curse my name in the dark, in each 
other's ears — because they can never forget." 

This man, whose talk had been of war and violence, dis- 
covered imexpectedly a passionate craving for security and 
peace. No one would understand him. Some of those who 
would not understand had died. His white teeth gleamed 
cruelly in the dark. But there were others he could not 


kill. The fools. He wanted the land and the people in it 
to be forgotten as if they had been swallowed by the sea. 
But they had neither wisdom nor patience. Could they not 
wait? They chanted prayers five times every day, but they 
had not the faith. 

"Death comes to all — and to the believers the end of 
trouble. But you white men who are too strong for us, 
you also die. You die. And there is a Paradise as great 
as all Earth and aU Heaven together, but not for you — ^not 
for you ! " 

Lingard, amazed, listened without a sound. The sleeper 
snored faintly. Belarab continued very calm after this al- 
most involuntary outburst of a consoling belief. He ex- 
plained that he wanted somebody at his back, somebody 
strong and whom he could trust, some outside force that 
would awe the unruly, that would inspire their ignorance 
with fear, and make his rule secure. He groped in the dark 
and seizing Lingard's arm above the elbow pressed it with 
force — then let go. And Lingard understood why his temer- 
ity had been so successful. 

Then and there, in retiu-n for Lingard's open support, a 
few guns and a little money, Belarab promised his help for 
the conquest of Wajo. There was no doubt he could find 
men who would fight. He could send messages to friends 
at a distance and there were also many unquiet spirits in his 
own district ready for any adventure. He spoke of these 
men with fierce contempt and an angry tenderness, in mingled 
accents of en%'y and disdain. He was wearied by their folly, 
by their recklessness, by their impatience — and he seemed 
to resent these as if they had been gifts of which he himself 
had been deprived by the fatality of his wisdom. They 
would fight. When the time came Lingard had only to speak, 
and a sign from him would send them to a vain fieath — 
those men who could not wait for an opportunity on this 
earth or for the eternal revenge of Heaven. 

He ceased, and towered upright in the gloom. 

"Awake!" he exclaimed, low, bending over the sleeping 


Their black shapes, passing in turn, eclipsed for two suc- 
cessive moments the gHtter of the stars, and Lingard, who 
had not stirred, remained alone. He lay back full length 
with an arm thrown across his eyes. 

When three days afterwards he left Belarab's settlement, 
it was on a calm morning of unclouded peace. All the boats 
of the brig came up into the lagoon armed and manned to 
make more impressive the solemn fact of a concluded alliance. 
A staring crowd watched his imposing departure in profound 
silence and with an increased sense of wonder at the mystery 
of his apparition. The progress of the boats was smooth 
and slow while they crossed the wide lagoon. Lingard 
looked back once. A great stillness had laid its hand over 
the earth, the sky and the men; upon the immobility 
of landscape and people. Hassim and Immada, standing 
out clearly by the side of the chief, raised their arms in a last 
salutation; and the distant gesture appeared sad, futile, lost 
in space, like a sign of distress made by castaways in the vain 
hof)e of an impossible help. 

He departed, he returned, he went away again, and each 
time those two figures, lonely on some sandbank of the 
shoals, made at him the same futile sign of greeting or good- 
bye. Their arms at each movement seemed to draw closer 
around his heart the bonds of a protecting affection. He 
worked prosaically, earning money to pay the cost of the 
romantic necessity that had invaded his life. And the 
money ran hke water out of his hands. The owner of the 
New England voice remitted not a little of it to his people 
in Baltimore. But import houses in the ports of the Far 
East had their share. It paid for a fast prau which, com- 
manded by Jaffir, sailed into unfrequented bays and up 
unexplored rivers, carrying secret messages, important 
news, generous bribes. A good part of it went to the pur- 
chase of the Emma. 

The Emma was a battered and decrepit old schooner that, 
in the decline of her existence, had been much ill-used by a 
paunchy ^white trader of cunning and gluttonous aspect. 
This man boasted outrageously afterwards of the good price 


he had got "for that rotten old hooker of mine — ^you know." 
The Emma left port mysteriously in company with the brig 
and henceforth vanished from the seas forever. Lingard 
had her towed up the creek and ran her aground upon that 
shore of the lagoon farthest from Belarab's settlement. 
There had been at that time a great rise of waters, which 
retiring soon after left the old craft cradled in the mud, 
with her bows grounded high between the trunks of two big 
trees, and leaning over a little as though after a hard life 
she had settled wearily to an everlasting rest. There, a few 
months later, Jorgenson found her when, called back into 
the life of men he re-appeared, together with Lingard, in the 
Land of Refuge. 

"She is better than a fort on shore," said Lingard, as side 
by side they leant over the taffrail, looking across the lagoon 
on the houses and palm-groves of the Settlement. "All the 
guns and powder I have got together so far are stored in her. 
Good idea, wasn't it? There will be, perhaps, no other such 
flood for years, and now they can't come alongside unless 
right under the counter, and only one boat at a time. I 
think you are perfectly safe here; you could keep off a whole 
fleet of boats; she isn't easy to set fire to; the forest in front 
is better than a wall. Well? " 

Jorgenson assented in grunts. He looked at the desolate 
emptiness of the decks, at the stripped spars, at the dead 
body of the dismantled little vessel that would know the 
life of the seas no more. The gloom of the forest fell on her, 
mournful Uke a winding sheet. The bushes of the bank 
tapped their twigs on the bluff of her bows, and a pendant 
spike of tiny brown blossoms swung to and fro over the 
ruins of her windlass. 

Hassim's companions garrisoned the old hulk, and Jorgen- 
son, left in charge, prowled about from stem to stern, taciturn 
and anxiously faithful to his trust. He had been received 
with astonishment, respect — and awe. Belarab visited him 
often. Sometimes those whom he had known in their prime 
years ago, during a struggle for faith and life, would come 
to talk with the white man. Their voices were like the echoes 


of stirring events, in the pale glamour of a youth gone by. 
They nodded their old heads. Do you remember? — they 
said. He remembered only too well! He was like a man 
raised from the dead, for whom the fascinating trust in the 
power of life is tainted by the black scepticism of the grave. 

Only at times the invincible belief in the reality of existence 
would come back, insidious and inspiring. He squared his 
shoulders, held himself straight, and walked with a firmer 
step. He felt a glow within him and the quickened beat of 
his heart. Then he calculated in silent excitement Lingard's 
chances of success, and he lived for a time with the life of 
that other man who knew nothing of the black scepticism 
of the grave. The chances were good, very good. 

"I should like to see it through," Jorgenson muttered to 
himself ardently; and his lustreless eyes would flash for a 


SOME people," said Lingard, "go about the world 
with their eyes shut. You are right. The sea is 
free to all of us. Some work on it, and some play 
the fool on it — and I don't care. Only you may take it 
from me that I will let no man's play interfere with my 
work. You want me to understand you are a very great 
man " 

Mr. Travers smiled, coldly. 

"Oh, yes," continued Lingard, "I understand that well 
enough. But remember you are very far from home, while I, 
here, I am where I belong. And I belong where I am. I am 
just Tom Lingard, no more, no less, wherever I happen to 

be, and — you may ask " A sweep of his hand along the 

western horizon entrusted with perfect confidence the re- 
mainder of his speech to the dumb testimony of the sea. 

He had been on board the yacht for more than an hour, 
and nothing, for him, had come of it but the birth of an un- 
reasoning hate. To the unconscious demand of these peo- 
ple's presence, of their ignorance, of their faces, of their 
voices, of their eyes, he had nothing to give but a resentment 
that had in it a germ of reckless violence. He could tell 
them nothing because he had not the means. Their coming 
at this moment, when he had wandered beyond that circle 
which race, memories, early associations, all the essential 
conditions of one's origin, trace round every man's life, de- 
prived him in a manner of the power of speech. He was 
confounded. It was like meeting exacting spectres in a 

He stared at the open sea, his arms crossed, with a reflect- 
ive fierceness. His very appearance made him utterly 
different from everyone on board that vessel. The gray 



shirt, the blue sash, one roUed-up sleeve baring a sculptural 
forearm, the neghgent masterfulness of his tone and pose 
were very distasteful to Mr. Travers, who, having made up 
his miad to wait for some kind of official assistance, regarded 
the intrusion of that inexplicable man with suspicion. From 
the moment Lingard came on board the yacht, every eye in 
that vessel had been fixed upon him. Only Carter, within 
earshot and leaning with his elbow upon the rail, stared down 
at the deck as if overcome with drowsiness or lost in thought. 

Of the three other persons aft, Mr. Travers kept his 
hands in the side pockets of his jacket and did not conceal 
his growing disgust at this unexpected contact. 

On the other side of the deck, a lady, in a long chair, 
had a passive attitude that to d'Alcacer, standing near her, 
seemed characteristic of the manner in which she accepted 
the necessities of existence. Years before, as an attache of his 
Embassy in London, he had found her an interesting hostess. 
She was even more interesting now, since a chance meeting 
and Mr. Travers' offer of a passage to Batavia had given him 
an opportunity of studying the various shades of scorn 
which he susjiected to be the secret of her acquiescence in 
the shallowness of events and the monotony of a worldly ex- 

There were things that from the first he had not been able 
to understand; for instance, why she should have married 
Mr. Travers. It must have been from ambition. He could 
not help feeling that such a successful mistake would explain 
completely her scorn and also her acquiescence. The meet- 
ing in Manila had been utterly imexpected to him, and he 
accounted for it to his tmcle, the Governor-Greneral of the 
colony, by pointing out that Enghshmen, when worsted 
in the struggle of love or pohtics, travel extensively, as if 
by encompassing a large portion of earth's surface they 
hoped to gather fresh strength for a renewed contest. As to 
himself, he judged — ^but did not say — that his contest with 
fate was ended, though he also travelled, leaving behind him 
in the capitals of Europe a story in which there was nothing 
scandalous but the publicity of an excessive feeUng and noth- 


ing more tragic than the early death of a woman whose bril- 
liant perfections were no better known to the great world 
than the discreet and passionate devotion she had innocently 

The invitation to join the yacht was the culminating 
point of many exchanged civiUties, and was mainly prompted 
by Mr. Travers' desire to have somebody to talk to. D'Al- 
cacer had accepted with the reckless indifference of a man 
to whom one method of flight from a relentless enemy is as 
good as another. Certainly the prospect of listening to long 
monologues on commerce, administration and politics did not 
promise much alleviation to his sorrow; and he could not 
expect much else from Mr. Travers, whose life and thought, 
ignorant of human passion, were devoted to extracting the 
greatest possible amount of personal advantage from human 
institutions. D'Alcacer found, however, that he could attain 
a measure of forgetfulness — the most precious thing for him 
now — in the society of Edith Travers. She had awakened 
his curiosity, which he thought nothing and nobody on earth 
could do any more. 

These two talked of things indifferent and interesting cer- 
tainly, not connected with human institutions, and only 
veiy slightly with human passions; but d'Alcacer could not 
help being made aware of her latent capacity for sym- 
pathy developed in those who are disenchanted with life or 
death. How far she was disenchanted he did not know, and 
did not attempt to find out. This restraint was imposed 
upon him by the chivalrous respect he had for the secrets 
of women and by a conviction that deep feeling is often im- 
penetrably obscure, even to those it masters for their in- 
spiration or their ruin. He believed that even she herself 
would never know, but his grave curiosity was satisfied by 
the observation of her mental state, and he was not sony 
that the stranding of the yacht prolonged his opportunity. 

Time passed on that mudbank as well as anywhere else, 
and it was not from a multiplicity of events, but from the 
lapse of time alone, that he expected relief. Yet in the same- 
ness of days upon the shallows, time flowing ceaselessly. 


flowed imperceptibly ; and, since every man clings to his own, 
be it joy, be it grief, he was pleased after the unrest of his 
wanderings to be able to fancy the whole universe and even 
time itseK apparently come to a standstill; as if unwilling 
to take him away farther from his sorrow, which was fading 
indeed but undiminished, as things fade, not in the distance 
but in the mist. 


D'ALCACER was a man of nearly forty, lean and sal- 
low, with hollow eyes and a drooping brown mous- 
tache. His gaze was penetrating and direct, his 
smile frequent and fleeting. He observed Lingard with great 
interest. He was attracted by that elusive something — a line, 
a fold, perhaps the form of the eye, the droop of an eyehd, 
the curve of a cheek, that tr ifling tr ait which on no two faces 
on earth is alike, that in^each face is the very foimdation of 
expression, as if, all the rest being heredity, mystery or acci- 
dent, it alone had h^en shaped consciously bythe soul within. 

Now and then he bent slightly over the^slow beat Of-arrrd 
fan in the curve of the deck chair to say a few words to Edith 
Travers, who answered him without looking up, without a 
modulation of tone or a play of feature, as if she had spoken 
from behind the veil of an immense indifference stretched 
between her and the man, between her heart and the meaning 
of events, between her eyes and the shallow sea which, hke 
her gaze, appeared profound, forever stilled, and seemed, 
far off in the distance of a faint horizon, beyond the reach of 
men, beyond the power of hand or voice, to lose itself in the 

Mr. Travers stepped aside, and speaking to Carter, over- 
whelmed him with reproaches. 

"You misunderstood yoiu- instructions," murmured rapidly 
Mr. Travers. "Why did you bring him here? I am sur- 
prised " 

"Not half so much as I was last night,'' growled the yoimg 
seaman, without any reverence in his tone, very provoking 
to Mr. Travers. 

"I perceive now you were totally unfit for the mission 
^ entrusted you with," went on the owner of the yacht. 



"It's he who got hold of me," said Carter. "Haren't you 
heard him yourself, sir?" 

"Nonsense," whispered Mr. Travers, angrily. " Have you 
any idea what his intentions may be?" 

"I half believe," answered Carter, "that his intention was 
to shoot me in his cabin last night if I " 

"That's not the point," interrupted Mr. Travers. "Have 
you any opinion as to his motive in coming here?" 

Carter raised his weary, bloodshot eyes in a face scarlet 
and peeling as though it had been hcked by a flame. " I know 
no more than you do, sir. Last night when he had me in 
that cabin of his, he said he would just as soon shoot me as 
let me go to Jook for any other help. It looks as if he were 
desperately bent on getting a lot of salvage money out of a 
stranded yacht." 

Mr. Travers turned away, and, for a moment, appeared 
immersed in deep thought. This accident of stranding 
upon a deserted coast was annoying as a loss of time. He 
tried to minimize it, by putting in order the notes collected 
during the year's travel in the East. He had sent off for 
assistance; his sailing-master, very crestfallen, made bold 
to say that the yacht would most hkely float at the next 
spring-tides; d'Alcacer, a person of undoubted nobility though 
of inferior principles, was better than no company, in so far 
as least that he could play picquet. 

Mr. Travers had made up his mind to wait. Then sud- 
denly this rough man, looking as if he had stepped out from 
an engraving in a book about buccaneers, broke in upon his 
resignation with mysterious allusions to danger, which 
sounded absurd yet were disturbing; with dark and warning 
sentences that sounded hke disguised menaces. 

Mr. Travers had a heavy and rather long chin which 
he shaved. His eyes were blue, a chill, naive blue. He 
faced Lingard untouched by travel, withouta mark of 
weariness or exposure, with the air of having been born in- 
vulnerable. He had a full, pale face; and his complexion 
was perfectly coloiurless, yet amazingly fresh, as if he had 
been reared in the shade. 


He thought: 

"I must put an end to this preposterous hectoring. I 
won't be intimidated into paying for services which I don't 

Mr. Travers felt a strong disgust for the impudence of the 
attempt; and all at once, incredibly, strangely, as though 
the thing, like a contest with a rival or a friend, had been 
of profoimd importance to his career, he felt inexplicably 
elated at the thought of defeating the secret purposes of that 

Lingard, unconscious of everything and everybody, con- 
templated the sea. He had grown on it, he had Uved with it; 
it had enticed him away from home; on it his thoughts had 
expanded and his hand had found work to do. It had sug- 
gested endeavour, it had made him owner and commander 
of the finest brig afloat; it had lulled him into a behef in him- 
self, in his strength, in his luck — and suddenly, by its com- 
plicity in a fatal accident, it had brought him face to face 
with a diflBculty that looked like the beginning of disaster. 

He had said all he dared to say — and he perceived that 
he was not believed. This had not happened to him for 
years. It had never happened. It bewildered him as if 
he had suddenly discovered that he was no longer himself. 
He had come to them and had said — "I mean well by you. 

I am Tom Lingard " and they did not believe. Before 

such scepticism he was helpless, because he had never imag- 
ined it possible. He had said: "You are in the way of my 
work. You are in the way of what I can not give up for 
any one; but I will see you through all if you will only 
trust me — ^me, Tom Lingard." And they would not believe 
him! It was intolerable. He imagined himself sweeping 
their disbelief out of his way. And why not? He did not 
know them, he did not care for them, he did not even need 
to lift his hand against them! AH he had to do was to shut 
his eyes now for a day or two — and afterwards he could for- 
get that he had ever seen them. It would be easy. Let 
their disbelief vanish, their folly disapi)ear, their bodies per- 
ish. ... It was that — or ruin! 


IINGARD'S gaze, detaching itself from the silent sea, 
travelled slowly over the silent figures clustering for- 
-^ ward, over the faces of the seamen attentive and sur- 
prised, over the faces never seen before yet suggesting old 
days— his youth — other seas — the distant shores of early 
memories. Mr. Travers gave a start also, and the hand 
which had been busy with his left whisker went into the pock- 
et of his jacket, as though he had plucked out something 
worth keeping. He made a quick step towards Lingard. 

"I don't see my way to utilize your services," he said, 
with cold finality. 

Lingard, grasping his beard, looked down at him thought- 
fully for a short time. 

"Perhaps it's just as well," he said, very slowly, "because I 
did not offer my services. I've offered to take you on board 
my brig for a few days, as your only chance of safety. And 
you asked me what were my motives. My motives! If 
you don't see them they are not for you to know." 

And these men who, two hours before had never seen each 
other, stood for a moment close together, antagonistic, as 
if they had been life-long enemies, one short, dapper and 
glaring upward, the other towering heavily, and looking 
down in contempt and anger. 

D'Alcacer, without taking his eyes off them, bent low over 
the deck chair. 

"Have you ever seen a man dashing himself at a stone 
wall?" he asked, confidentially. 

"No," said Mrs. Travers, gazing straight before her above 
the slow flutter of the fan. "No, I did not know it was ever 
done; men burrow under or slip round quietly while they 
look the other way." 



"Ah! you define diplomacy," murmured d'Alcacer. "A 
little of it here would do no harm. But our picturesque 
visitor has none of it. I've a great liking for him." 

"Already," breathed out Mrs. Travers, with a smile that 
touched her lips with its bright wing and was flown almost 
before it could be seen. 

"There is liking at first sight," aflSrmed d'Alcacer, "as 
well as love at first sight — the coup defovdre — you know." 

She looked up for a moment, and he went on, gravely: 

" I think it is the truest, the most profound of sentiments. 
You do not love because of what is in the other. You love 
because of something that is in you — something alive — in 
yourself." He struck his breast lightly with the tip of one 
finger. "A capacity in you. And not everyone may have 
it — not everyone deserves to be touched by fire from heaven." 

"And die," she said. 

He made a slight movement. 

"Who can tell? That is as it may be. But it is always a 
privilege, even if one must live a little after being burnt." 

Through the silence between them, Mr. Travers' voice 
came plainly, saying with irritation : 

"I've told you already that I do not want you. I've sent 
a messenger to the governor of the Straits. Don't be im- 

Then Lingard, standing with his back to them, growled out 
something which must have exasperated Mr. Travers, because 
his voice was pitched higher : 

"You are playing a dangerous game I warn you. Sir 
John, as it happens, is a personal friend of mine. He will 
send a cruiser " and Lingard interrupted recklessly, loud: 

"As long as she does not get here for the next ten days, I 
don't care. Cruisers are scarce just now in the Straits; and 
to turn my back on you is no hanging matter anyhow. I 
would risk that, and more! Do you hear? And more!" 

He stamped his foot heavily, Mr. Travers stepped back. 

"You will gain nothing by trying to frighten me," he said. 
"I don't know who you are." 

Every eye in the yacht was wide open. The men, crowded 


upon each other, stared stupidly hke a flock of sheep. Mr. 
Travers pulled out a handkerchief and passed it over his 
forehead. The face of the sailing-master who leaned against 
the main mast — as near as he dared to approach the gentry — 
was shining and crimson between white whiskers, like a glow- 
ing coal between two patches of snow. 

D'Alcacer whispered: 

"It is a quarrel, and the picturesque man is angry. He is 

Mrs. Travers' fan rested on her knees, and she sat still 
as if waiting to hear more. 

"Do you think I ought to make an effort for peace?" asked 

She did not answer, and after waiting a little, he insisted : 

"What is your opinion? Shall I try to mediate — as a neu- 
tral, as a benevolent neutral? I like that man with the 

The interchange of angry phrases went on aloud, amidst 
general consternation. 

"I would turn my back on you only I am thinking of these 
poor devils here," growled Lingard, furiously. "Did you ask 
them how they feel about it?" 

"I ask no one," spluttered Mr. Travers. "Everybody here 
depends on my judgment." 

"I am sorry for them then," pronounced Lingard with 
sudden dehberation, and leaning forward with his arms 
crossed on his breast. 

At this Mr. Travers positively jumped, and forgot himself 
so far as to shout : 

"You are an impudent fellow. I have nothing more to say 
to you." 

D'Alcacer, after muttering to himself — "This is getting 
^erious," made a movement, and could not believe his ears 
when he heard Mrs. Travers say rapidly with a kind of 

"Don't go, pray; don't stop them. Oh! This is truth — 
this is anger — ^something real at last." 

D'Alcacer leaned back at once against the rail. 


Then Mr. Travers, with one arm extended, repeated very 
loudly — 

"Nothing more to say. Leave my ship at once!" 

And directly the black dog, stretched at his wife's feet, 
muzzle on paws and blinking yellow eyes, growled dis- 
contentedly at the noise. Mrs. Travers laughed a faint, 
bright laugh, that seemed to escape, to gUde, to dart be- 
tween her white teeth, D'Alcacer, concealing his amaze- 
ment, was looking down at her gravely: and after a slight 
gasp, she said with little bursts of merriment between every 
few words: 

"No, but this is — such — such a fresh experience for me to 
hear — to see something — genuine and human. Ah! ah! one 
would think they waited all their lives — for this opportun- 
ity — ah! ah! ah! All their lives — ^for this ah! ah! ah!" 

These strange words struck d'Alcacer as perfectly just, as 
throwing an unexpected light. But after a smile, he said, 

"This reality may go too far. A man who looks so pic- 
turesque is capable of anything. Allow me " And he 

left her side, moving towards Lingard, loose-Umbed and 
gaunt, yet having in his whole bearing, in his walk, in every 
leisurely movement, an air of distinction and ceremony. 

Lingard spun round with aggressive mien to the light touch 
on his shoulder, but as soon as he took his eyes off Mr. 
Travers, his anger fell, seemed to sink without a sound at his 
feet like a rejected garment. 

"Pardon me," said 'dAlcacer, composedly. The slight 
wave of his hand was hardly more than an indication, the 
beginning of a conciliating gesture. "Pardon me; but this 
is a matter requiring perfect confidence on both sides. Don 
Martin, here, who is a person of importance. . . ." 

"I've spoken my mind plainly. I have said as much as I 
dare. On my word I have," declared Lingard with an air 
of good temper. 

"Ah!" said d'Alcacer, reflectively, "then your reserve is 
a matter of pledged faith — of — of honour?" 

Lingard also appeared thoughtful for a moment. 


"You may put it that way. And I owe nothing to a man 
who couldn't see my hand when I put it out to him as I came 

"You have so much the advantage of us here," rephed 
d'Alcacer, "that you may well be generous and forget that 
oversight; and then just a little more confidence. 

"My dear d'Alcacer, you are absurd," broke in Mr. Trav- 
ers, in a calm voice but with white lips. "I did not come 
out all this way to shake hands promiscuously and receive 
confidences from the first adventurer that comes along." 

D'Alcacer stepped back with an almost imperceptible 
inclination of the head at Lingard, who stood for a moment 
with twitching face. 

"I am an adventurer," he burst out, "and if I hadn't been 
an adventurer, I would have had to starve or work at home 
for such people as you. If I weren't an adventurer, you 
would be most likely lying dead on this deck with your cut 
throat gaping at the sky." 

Mr. Travers waved this speech away. But others also 
had heard. Carter listened watchfully and something, some 
alarming notion seemed to dawn all at once upon the thick 
little sailing-master, who rushed on his short legs, and tug- 
ging at Carter's sleeve, stammered desperately: 

"What's he saying.' Who's he? What's up? Are the 
natives unfriendly? My book says — 'Natives friendly 
all along this coast ! ' My book says " 

Carter, who had glanced over the side, jerked his arm free. 

"You go down into the pantry, where you belong, Skipper, 
and read that bit about the natives over again," he said to 
his superior ofiicer, with savage contempt. "I'll be hanged 
if some of them ain't coming aboard now to eat you — book and 
all. Get out of the way, and let the gentlemen have the first 
chance of a row." 

Then addressing Lingard, he drawled in his old way — 

"That crazy mate of yours has sent your boat back, with a 
couple of visitors in her, too." 

Before he apprehended plainly the meaning of these words, 
Lingard caught sight of two heads rising above the rail, the 


head ol" Hassim and the head of Immada. Then their bod- 
ies asce.ided into view as though these two beings had grad- 
ually emerged from the shallows. They stood for a moment 
on the platform looking down on the deck as if about to step 
into the unknown, then descended and walking aft entered 
the half -light under the awning shading the luxurious sur- 
roundings, the complicated emotions of the, to them incon-) 
peivable, existences. / 

Lingard without waiting a moment cried — 

"What news, O Rajah.?" 

Hassim's eyes made the round of the schooner's decks. 
He had left his gun in the boat and advanced empty 
handed, with a tranquil assurance as if bearing a wel- 
come ofifering in the faint smile on his lips. Immada, half 
hidden behind his shoulder, followed lightly, her elbows 
pressed close to her side. The thick fringe of her eyelashes 
was dropped like a veil; she looked youthful and brooding; 
she had an aspect of shy resolution. 

They stopped within arm's length of the whites, and for 
some time nobody said a word. Then Hassim gave Lingard 
a significant glance, and uttered rapidly with a slight toss of 
the head that indicated in a manner the whole of the yacht : 

"I see no guns!" 

"N — ^no!" said Lingard, looking suddenly confused. It 
had occurred to him that for the first time in two years or 
more he had forgotten, utterly forgotten, these people's 

Immada stood slight and rigid with downcast eyes. Has- 
sim, at his ease, scrutinized the faces, as if searching for elu- 
sive points of similitude or for subtle shades of difiFerence. 

"What is this new intrusion?" asked Mr. Travers, angrily. 

"These are the fisher-folk, sir," broke in the sailing- 
master, " we've observed these three days past flitting about 
in a canoe; but they never had the sense to answer our hail; 

and yet a bit of fish for your breakfast " He smiled 

obsequiously, and all at once, without provocation, began to 
bellow : 

"Hey! Johnnie! Hab got fish? Fish! One peecee fish! 


Eh? Savee? Fish! Fish " He gave it up siaddenly 

to say in a deferential tone — "Can't make them savages 
understand anything, sir," and withdrew as if after a clever 

Hassim looked at Lingard. 

"Why did the little white man make that outcry?" he 
asked, anxiously. 

"Their desire is to eat fish," said Lingard in an enraged 

Then before the air of extreme surprise which inconti- 
nently appeared on the other's face, he could not restrain 
a short and hopeless laugh. 

"Eat fish," repeated Hassim, staring. "O you white 
people! O you white people! Eat fish! Good! But 
why make that noise? And why did you send them here 
without guns?" After a significant glance down upon the 
slope of the deck caused by the vessel being on the ground, 
he added with a slight nod at Lingard — "And without 

"You should not have come here, O Hassim," said Lin- 
gard, testily. "Here no one understands. They take a ra- 
jah for a fisherman " 

"Ya-wal A great mistake, for, truly, the chief of ten 
fugitives without a country is much less than the headman 
of a fishing village," observed Hassim, composedly. Immada 
sighed. "But you, Tuan, at least know the truth," he went 
on with quiet irony; then after a pause — "We came here be- 
cause you had forgotten to look towards us, who had waited, 
sleeping little at night, and in the day watching with hot 
eyes the empty water at the foot of the sky for you." 

Immada murmured, without lifting her head: 

''^ou never looked for us. Never, never onc^" 

"There was too much trouble in my eyes," explained Lin- 
gard with that patient gentleness of tone and face which, 
every time he spoke to the young girl, seemed to disengage 
itself from his whole person, enveloping his fierceness, soft- 
ening his aspect, such as the dreamy mist that in the early 
radiance of the morning weaves a veil of tender charm about 


a rugged rock in mid-ocean. "I must look now to the right and 
to the left as in a time of sudden danger," he added after a 
moment and she whispered an appalled "Why?" so low that 
its pain floated away in the silence of attentive men, without 
response, unheard, ignored, like the pain of an impalpable 


D'ALCACER, standing back, surveyed them all with a 
profound and alert attention. Lingard seemed 
unable to tear himself away from the yacht, and re- 
mained, checked, as it were in the act of going, like a man 
who has stopped to think out the last thing to say; and that 
stillness of a body, forgotten by the labouring mind, reminded 
Carter of that moment in the cabin, when alone he had seen 
this man thus wrestling with his thought, motionless and 
locked in the grip of his conscience. 

Mr. Travers muttered audibly through his teeth: 

"How long is this performance going to last? I have 
desired you to go." 

"Think of these poor devils," whispered Lingard, with a 
quick glance at the crew huddled up near by. 

" You are the kind of man I would be least disposed to trust 
— in any case," said Mr. Travers, incisively, very low, and 
with an inexplicable but very apparent satisfaction. "So 
you are only WEisting your time here." 

Lingard coloured violently to the eyes. 

"You You " He stammered and stared. He 

chewed with growls some insulting word and at last swal- 
lowed it with an effort. "My time pays for your life," he 

He became aware of a sudden stir, and saw that Mrs. 
Travers had risen from her chair. 

She walked impulsively towards the group on the quarter- 
deck, making straight for Immada. Hassim had stepped 
aside and his detached gaze of a Malay gentleman passed 
by her as if she had been invisible. 

She was tall, supple, moving freely. Her complexion 
was so dazzling in the shade that it seemed to throw out a 



halo round her head. Upon a smooth and wide brow an 
abundance of pale fair hair, fine as silk, undulating like 
the sea, heavy like a helmet, descended low without a trace 
of gloss, without a gleam in its coils, as though it had never 
been touched by a r^^^ight; and a throat white, smooth, 
palpitating with lifeTaround neck modelled with strength 
and delicacy, supported gloriously that radiant face and that 
pale mass of hair unkissed by sunshine. 

She said with animation — 

"Why, it's a girl!" 

Mrs. Travers extorted from d'Alcacer a fresh tribute of 
curiosity. A strong puff of wind fluttered the awnings and 
one of the screens blowing out wide let in upon the quarter- 
deck the rippling gUtter of the shallows, showing to d'Alcacer 
the luminous vastness of the sea, with the line of the distant 
horizon, dark like the edge of the encompassing night, drawn 
at the height of Edith's shoulder. . . . Where was 
it he had seen her last— a long time before, on the other side 
of the world? There was also the glitter of splendour around 
her then, and an impression of luminous vastness. The 
encompassing night, too, was there, the night that waits 
for its time to move forward upon the glitter, the splendour, 
the men, the women. 

He could not remember for the moment, but he became 
convinced that of all the women he knew, she alone seemed 
to be made for action. Every one of her movements had 
firmness, ease, the meaning of a vital fact, the moral beauty 
of a fearless expression. Her supple figure was not dis- 
honoured by any faltering of outhnes under the plain dress 
of dark blue stuff moulding her form with bold simplicity. 

She had only very few steps to make, but before she had 
stopped, confronting Immada, d'Alcacer remembered her 
suddenly as he had seen her last, out West, far away, im- 
possibly different, as if in another universe, as if pre- 
sented by the fantasy of a fevered memory. He saw her 
in a luminous perspective of palatial drawing-rooms, in 
the restless eddy and flow of a human sea, at the foot of 
walls high as cliffs, under lofty ceilings that like a tropical 


sky flung light and heat upon the shallow glitter of uniforms, 
of stars, of diamonds, of eyes sparkling in the weary or im- 
passive faces of the throng at an official reception. Outside 
he had found the unavoidable darkness with its aspect of pa- 
tient waiting, a cloudy sky holding back the dawn of a Lon- 
don morning. It was difficult to believe. 

Lingard, who had been looking dangerously fierce, slapped 
his thigh and showed signs of agitation. 

"By heavens, I had forgotten all about you!" he pro- 
nounced in dismay. 

Mrs. Travers fixed her eyes on Immada. Fair-haired and 
white she asserted herself before the girl of olive face and 
raven locks with the maturity of perfection, with the supe- 
riority of the fiower over the leaf, of the phrase that contains 
a thought over the cry that can only express an emotion. 
Immense spaces and countless centuries stretched between 
them: and she looked at her as when one looks into one's 
own heart with absorbed curiosity, with still wonder, with 
an immense compassion. Lingard murmured, warningly: 

"Don't touch her." 

Mrs. Travers looked at him. 

"Do you think I could hurt her.?" she asked, softly, and 
was so startled to hear him mutter a gloomy "Perhaps," 
that she hesitated before she smiled. 

"Almost a child! And so pretty! What a delicate 
face," she said, while another deep sigh of the sea-breeze 
lifted and let fall the screens, so that the sound, the wind and 
the glitter seemed to rush in together and bear her words 
away into space. "I had no idea of anything so charmingly 
gentle," she went on in a voice that without effort glowed, 
caressed, and had a magic power of delight to the soul. "So 
young. She lives here — does she? On the sea— or where? 

Lives " Then faintly, as if she had been in the act of 

speaking, removed instantly to a great distance, she was 
heard again: "How does she live?" 

Lingard had hardly seen Edith Travers till then. He had 
seen no one really but Mr. Travers. He looked and listened 
with something of the stupor of a new sensation. 


Then he made a distinct effort to collect his thoughts 
and said with a remnant of anger: 

"What have you got to do with her? She knows war. 
Do you know anything about it? And hunger, too, and thirst, 
and unhappiness; things you have only heard about. She 
has been as near death as I am to you — and what is all that 
to any of you here? " 

"That child," she said in slow wonder. 

Immada turned upon Mrs. Travers her eyes black as coal, 
sparkling and soft like a tropical night; and the glances of 
the two women, their dissimilar and inquiring glances met, 
seemed to touch, clasp, hold each other with the grip of an 
intimate contact. They separated. 

"What are they come for? Why did you show them the 
way to this place? " asked Immada, faintly. 

Lingard shook his head in denial. 

"Poor girl," said Mrs. Travers. "Are they all so 

"Who-all?" mumbled Lingard. "There isn't another one 
like her if you were to ransack the islands all round the 

"Edith!" ejaculated Mr. Travers in a remonstrating, 
acrimonious voice, and everyone gave him a look of vague 

Then Mrs. Travers asked — 

"Who is she?" 

Lingard very red and grave declared curtly — 

"A princess." 

Immediately he looked round with suspicion. No one 
smiled. D'Alcacer courteous and nonchalant lounged up 
close to Edith's elbow. 

"If she is a princess, then this man is a knight," he miu-- 
mured with conviction. "A knight as I live ! A descendant 
of the immortal hidalgo errant upon the sea. It would be 
good for us to have him for a friend. Seriously I think that 
you ought " 

The two stepped aside and spoke low and hurriedly. 

"Yes, you ought " 


"How can I?" she interrupted, catching the meaning 
like a ball. 

"By saying something." 

"Is it really necessary?" she asked, doubtfully. 

"It would do no harm," said d'Aleacer with sudden care- 
lessness; "a friend is always better than an enemy. 

"Always?" she repeated, meaningly. "But what could I say?" 

"Some words," he answered; "I should think any words 
in your voice- 

' Mr. d'Aleacer!" 

"Or you could perhaps look at him once or twice as though 
he were not exactly a robber," he continued. 

"Mr. d'Aleacer, are you afraid?" 

"Extremely," he said, stooping to pick up the fan at her 
feet. "That is the reason I am so anxious to conciliate. 
And you must not forget that one of your queens once stepped 
on the cloak of perhaps such a man." 

Her eyes sparkled and she dropped them suddenly. 

"I am not a queen," she said, coldly. 

"Unfortimately not," he admitted; "but then the other 
was a woman with no charm but her crown." 

At that moment Lingard, to whom Hassim had been talk- 
ing earnestly, protested aloud — 

"I never saw these people before." 

Immada caught hold of her brother's arm. Mr. Travers 
said harshly — 

"Oblige me by taking these natives away." 

"Never before," murmured Immada as if lost in ecstasy. 
D'Aleacer glanced at Edith and made a step forward. 

"Could not the difficulty, whatever it is, be arranged, 
Captain?" he said with careful politeness. "Observe that 
we are not only men here " 

"Let them die!" cried Immada, triumphantly. 

Though Lingard alone understood the meaning of these 
words, all on board felt oppressed by the imeasy silence which 
followed her cry. 

"Ah! He is going. Now, Mrs. Travers," whispered 


"I hope!" said Mrs. Travers, impulsively, and stopped as 
if alarmed at the sound. 

Lingard stood still. 

"I hope," she began again, "that this poor girl will know 
happier days " She hesitated. 

Lingard waited, attentive and serious. 

"Under your care," she finished. "And I believe you 
meant to be friendly to us." 

"Thank you," said Lingard with dignity. 

"You and d'Alcacer," observed Mr. Travers, austerely, 
"are unnecessarily detaining this — ah — person, and — ah — 
friends — ah!" 

"I had forgotten you — and now — ^what? One must — 

it is hard — ^hard " went on Lingard, disconnectedly, while 

he looked into Mrs. Travers' violet eyes, and felt his mind 
overpowered and troubled as if by the contemplation of 
vast distances. "I — ^you don't know — I — ^you — cannot . . . 
ha! It's all that man's doing," he burst out. 

For a time, as if beside himself, he glared at Mr. Travers, 
then flung up one arm and strode off towards the gangway, 
where Hassim and Immada waited for him, interested and 
patient. With a single word "Come" he preceded them 
down into the boat. Not a sound was heard on the yacht's 
deck, while these three disappeared one after another below 
the rail as if they had descended into the sea. 


THE afternoon dragged itself out in silence. Mrs. Trav- 
ers sat pensive and idle with her fan on her knees. 
D'AIcaeer, who thought the incident should have been 
treated in a conciliatory spirit, attempted to communicate 
his view to his host, but that gentleman, purposely misun- 
derstanding his motive, overwhelmed him with so many 
apologies and expressions of regret at the irksome and per- 
haps inconvenient delay "which you suffer from through 
your good-natured acceptance of our invitation" that the 
other was obliged to refrain from pursuing the subject further. 

"Even my regard for you, my dear d'Alcacer, could not 
induce me to submit to such a bare-faced attempt at extor- 
tion," affirmed Mr. Travers with uncompromising virtue. 
"The man wanted to force his services upon me, and then 
put in a heavy claim for salvage. That is the whole secret — 
you may depend on it. I detected him at once, of course." 
The eye-glass glittered perspicuously. "He underrated my 
intelligence; and what a violent scoundrel! The existence 
of such a man in the time we live in is a scandal." 

D'Alcacer retired, and, full of vague forebodings, tried in 
vain for hours to interest himself in a book. Mr. Travers 
walked up and down restlessly, trying to persuade himself 
that his indignation was based on purely moral grounds. 
The glaring day, like a mass of white-hot iron withdrawn 
from the fire, was losing gradually its heat and its glare in 
a richer deepening of tone. At the usual time two seamen, 
walking noiselessly aft in their yachting shoes, rolled up in 
silence the quarter-deck screens; and the coast, the shallows, 
the dark islets and the snowy sandbanks uncovered thus day 
after day were seen once more in their aspect of dumb watch- 
fulness. The brig swung end on in the foreground, her 



squared yards crossing heavily the soaring symmetry of the 
rigging, resembled a creature instinct with life, with the 
power of springing into action lurking in the light grace of its 

A pair of stewards in white jackets with brass buttons 
appeared on deck and began to flit about without a 
sound, laying the table for dinner on the flat top of the 
cabin skylight. The siin, drifting away towards other lands, 
towards other seas, towards other men; the sun all red in 
a cloudless sky raked the yacht with a parting salvo of 
crimson rays that shattered themselves into sparks of fire 
upon the crystal and silver of the dinner-service, put a short 
flame into the blades of knives and spread a rosy tint over 
the white of plates. A trail of purple, such as a smear of 
blood on a blue shield, lay over the sea. 

On sitting down Mr. Travers alluded in a vexed tone to the 
necessity of living on preserves, all the stock of fresh provi- 
sions for the passage to Batavia having been already con- 
sumed. It was distinctly unpleasant — 

"I don't travel for my pleasure, however," he added; "and 
the belief that the sacrifice of my time and comfort will be 
productive of some good to the world at large would make 
up for any amount of privations." 

•Edith and d'Alcacer seemed unable to shake off a strong 
aversion to talk, and the conversation, like an expiring 
breeze, kept on dying out repeatedly after each languid 
gust. The large silence of the horizon, the profound repose 
of all things visible, enveloping the bodies and penetrating 
the souls with their quieting influence, stilled thought as 
well as voice. For a long time no one spoke. Behind the 
taciturnity of the masters the servants hovered without 

Suddenly, Mr. Travers, as if concluding a train of thought, 
muttered aloud: 

"I own with regret I did in a measure lose my temper; but 
then you will admit that the existence of such a man is a dis- 
grace to civilization." 

This remark was not taken up and he returned for a time 


to the nursing of his indignation, at the bottom of which, 
like a monster in a fog, crept a bizarre feeling of personal 
rancour. He waved away an offered dish. 

"This coast," he began again, "has been placed under the 
sole protection of Holland by the Treaty of 1820. The 
Treaty of 1820 creates special rites and obligations . . ." 

Both his hearers felt vividly the urgent necessity to hear no 
more. D'Alcacer, uncomfortable on a camp-stool, sat stiff 
and stared at the glass stopper of a carafe. Mrs. Travers 
turned a little sideways and leaning on her elbow rested her 
head on the palm of her hand like one thinking about matters 
of profound import. Mr. Travers talked; he talked inflex- 
ibly, in a harsh blank voice, as if reading a proclamation. 
The other two, as if in a state of incomplete trance, had their 
ears assailed by fragments of official verbiage. 

"An international understanding — the duty to civilize 

— failed to carry out — compact — Canning " D'Alcacer 

became attentive for a moment. " — not that this attempt, 
almost amusing in its impudence, influences my opinion. I 
won't admit the possibility of any violence being offered to 
people of our position. It is the social aspect of such an inci- 
dent I am desirous of criticising." 

Here d'Alcacer lost himself again in the recollection 
of Edith and Immada looking at each other — the beginning 
and the end, the flower and the leaf, the phrase and the cry. 
Mr. Travers' voice went on dogmatic and obstinate for a 
long time. The end came with a certain vehemence. 

"And if the inferior race must perish, it is a gain, a step 
towards the perfecting of society which is the aim of prog- 

He ceased. The sparks of sunset Ln crystals and silver 
had gone out, and around the yacht the expanse of coast and 
shallows seemed to await, unmoved, the coming of utter 
darkness. The dinner was over a long time ago and the 
patient stewards had been waiting, indifferent in the down- 
pour of words Uke sentries under a shower. 

Mrs. Travers rose nervously and going aft began to gaze at 
the coast. Behind her the sun, sunk already, seemed to force 


through the mass of waters the glow of an unextinguishable 
fire, and below her feet, on each side of the yacht, the lus- 
trous sea, as if reflecting the colour of her eyes, was tinged 
a sombre violet hue. 

D'Alcacer came up to her with quiet footsteps and for some 
time they leaned side by side over the rail in silence. Then 
he said — "How quiet it is!" and she seemed to perceive that 
the quietness of that evening was more profound and more 
significant than ever before. Almost without knowing it she 
murmured — "It's like a dream." Another long silence en- 
sued; the tranquillity of the universe had such an august 
ampleness that the sounds remained on the lips as if checked 
by the fear of profanation. The sky was limpid like a dia- 
mond, and under the last gleams of sunset the night was 
spreading its veil over the earth. There was something 
precious and soothing lq the beautifully serene end of that 
expiring day, of the day vibrating, glittering and ardent, and 
dying now in infinite peace, v/ithout a stir, without a trem- 
or, without a sigh — in the certitude of resurrection. 

Then all at once the shadow deepened swiftly, the stars 
came out in a crowd, scattering a rain of pale sparks upon 
the blackness of the water, while the coast stretched low 
down a dark belt without a gleam. Above it the top-hamper 
of the brig loomed indistinct and high. 

Mrs. Travers spoke first. 

"How unnaturally quiet! It is like a desert of land and 
water without a living soul." 

"One man at least dwells in it," said d'Alcacer, Ughtly, 
"and if he is to be believed there are other men, full of evil 

"Do you think it is true?" Mrs. Travers asked. 

Before answering d'Alcacer tried to see the expression 
of her face but the obscurity was too profound already. 

"How can one see a dark truth on such a dark night?" 
he said, evasively. "But it is easy to believe in evil, here or 
anywhere else." 

She seemed to be lost in thought for a while. 

"And that man himself?" she asked. 


After some time d'Alcacer began to speak slowly. 

"Rough, uncommon, decidedly uncommon of his kind. 
Not at all what Don Martin thinks him to be. For the rest — 
mysterious to me. He is your countryman after all " 

She seemed quite surprised by that view. 

"Yes," she said, slowly. "But you know, I can not — 
what shall I say — imagine him at all. He has nothing in 
common with the mankind I know. There is nothing to 
begin upon. How does such a man live? What are his 
thoughts? His actions? His affections? His " 

"His conventions," suggested d'Alcacer. "That would 
include everything." 

Mr. Travers appeared suddenly behind them with a glowing 
cigar in his teeth. He took it between his fingers to declare 
with persistent acrimony that no amount of "scoundrelly 
intimidation" would prevent him from having his usual 
walk. There was about three hundred yards to the south- 
ward of the yacht a sandbank nearly a mile long, gleaming a 
silvery white in the darkness, plumetted in the centre with a 
thicket of dry bushes that rustled very loud in the slightest 
stir of the heavy night air. The day after the stranding 
they had landed on it "to stretch their legs a bit," as the 
sailing-master defined it, and every evening since, as if exer- 
cising a privilege or performing a duty, the three paced there 
for an hour backward and forward lost in dusky immensity, 
threading at the edge of water the belt of damp sand, smooth, 
level, elastic to the touch like living flesh and sweating a 
little under the pressure of their feet. 

This time d'Alcacer alone followed Mr. Travers. Mrs. 
Travers heard them get into the yacht's smallest boat, and 
the night watchman, tugging at a pair of sculls, pulled them 
off to the nearest point. Then the man returned. He came 
up the ladder and she heard him say to someone on deck — 

"Orders to go back in an hour." 

His footsteps died out forward, and a somnolent, unbreath- 
ing repose took possession of the stranded yacht. 


A FTER a time this absolute silence which she almost 
/-\ could feel pressing upon her on all sid^^nduced 
-*--*- a state of hallucination. She saw hersePlKlind- 
ing alone, at the end of time, on the brink of days. All 
was unmoving as if the dawn would never come, the stars 
would never fade, the sun would never rise any more; all 
was mute, still, dead — as if the shadow of the outer darkness, 
the shadow of the uninterrupted, of the everlasting night 
that fills the universe, the shadow of the night so profound 
and so vast that the blazing suns lost in it are only like sparks, 
like pin-points of fire, the restless shadow that like a suspicion 
of an evil truth darkens everything upon the earth on its 
passage, had enveloped her, had stood arrested as if to re- 
main with her forever. 

And there was such a finalty in that illusion, such an accord 
with the trend of her thought that when she murmured 
into the darkness a faint "so be it" she seemed to have spoken 
one of those sentences that resume and close a life. 

As a young girl, often reproved for her romantic ideas, 
she had dreams where the sincerity of a great passion ap- 
peared like the ideal fulfilment and the only truth of life. 
Entering the world she discovered that ideal to be unattain- 
able because the world is too prudent to be sincere. Then 
she hoped that she could find the truth of life in ambition 
which she understood as a life-long devotion to some unselfish 
idea. Mr. Travers' name was on men's lips; he seemed 
capable of enthusiasm and of devotion; he impressed her 
imagination by his impenetrability. She married him, 
found him enthusiastically devoted to the nm-sing of his own 
career, and had nothing to hope for now. 

That her husband should be bewildered by the curious 



misunderstanding which had taken place and also perma- 
nently grieved by her disloyalty to his respectable ideals was 
only natural. He was, however, perfectly satisfied with her 
beauty, her brilhance and her useful connections. She was 
admired, she was envied; she was surrounded by splendour 
and adulation; the days went on rapid, brUliant, uniform, 
without a glimpse of sincerity or true passion, without a 
single true emotion — not even that of a great sorrow. And 
swiftly aad stealthily they had led her on and on, to this 
evening, to this coast, to this sea, to this moment of time and 
to this spot on the earth's surface where she felt unerringly 
that the moving shadow of the imbroken night had stood 
still to remain with her forever. 

"So be it!" she murmured, resigned and defiant, at the 
mute and smooth obscurity that hung before her eyes in a 
black curtain without a fold; and as if in anijver to that 
whisper a lantern was run up to the f oreyard-arm of the brig. 
She saw it ascend swinging for a short space, and suddenly 
remain motionless in the air, piercing the dense night be- 
tween the two vessels by its glance of flame that strong and 
steady seemed, from afar, to faU upon her alone. 

Her thoughts, like a fascinated moth, went fluttering 
towards that light — that man — that girl, who had known 
war, danger, seen death near, had obtained evidently 
the devotion of that man. The occurrences of the afternoon 
had been strange in themselves, but what struck her artistic 
sense was the vigour of their presentation. They outlined 
themselves before her memory with the clear simplicity of 
some immortal legend. They were mysterious, but she felt 
certain they were absolutely true. They embodied artless 
and masterful feelings; such, no doubt, as had swayed man- 
kind in the simphcity of its youth. She envied, for a mo- 
ment, the lot of that humble and obscure sister. Nothing 
stood between that girl and the truth of her sensations. She 
could be sincerely courageous, and tender and passionate 
and — well — ferocious. Why not ferocious? She could know 
the truth of terror — and of affection, absolutely, without 
artificial trammels, without the pain of restraint. 


Thinking of what such life could be Mrs. Travers felt in- 
vaded by that inexplicable exaltation which the conscious- 
ness of their physical capacities so often gives to intellectual 
beings. She glowed with a sudden persuasion that she also 
could be equal to such an existence; and her heart was dilated 
with a momentary longing to know the naked truth of things; 
the naked truth of life and passion biu:ied under the growth 
of centuries. 

She glowed and, suddenly, she quivered with the shock of 
coming to herself as if she had fallen down from a star. 
There was a sound of rippling water and a shapeless mass 
glided out of the dark void she confronted. A voice below 
her feet said — 

"I made out your shape — on the sky." 

A cry of surprise expired on her lips and she could only 
peer downward. Lingard, alone in the brig's dinghy, with 
another stroke sent the light boat nearly under the yacht's 
coxmter, laid his sculls in and rose from the thwart. His 
head and shoulders loomed up alongside and he had the ap- 
pearance of standing upon the sea. Involuntarily Mrs. 
Travers made a movement of retreat. 

"Stop," he said, anxiously, "don't speak loud. No one 
must know. Where do your people think themselves I 
wonder? In a dock at home? And you " 

"My husband is not on board," she interrupted, hur- 

"I know." 

She bent a little more over the rail: 

"Then you are having us watched. Why?" 

"Somebody must watch. Your people keep such a good 
lookout — don't they? Yes. Ever since dark one of my 
boats has been dodging astern here, in the deep water. I 
swore to myself I would never see one of you, never speak to 
one of you here, that I would be dumb, blind, deaf. And 
— ^herelam!" 

Mrs. Travers' alarm and mistrust were replaced by an im- 
mense curiosity, burning, yet quiet, too, as if before the in- 
evitable work of destiny. She looked downward at Lingard. 


His head was bared, and, with one hand upon the ship's side, 
he seemed to be thinking deeply. 

"Because you had something more to tell us," Mrs. 
Travers suggested, gently. 

"Yes," he said in a low tone and without moving in the 

"WiU you come on board and wait?" she asked. 

"Who? I!" He lifted his head so quickly as to startle 
her. "I have nothing to say to him; and I'll never put my 
foot on board this craft. I've been told to go. That's 

"He is accustomed to be addressed deferentially," she 
said after a pause, "and you " 

"Who is he?" asked Lingard, simply. 

These three words seemed to her to scatter her past in 
the air — like smoke. They robbed all the multitude of 
mankind of every vestige of importance. She was amazed 
to find that on this night, in this place, there could be no 
adequate answer to the searching naiveness of that question. 

"I didn't ask for much," Lingard began again. "Did I? 
Only that you all should come on board my brig for five days. 
That's aU. . . . Do I look like a liar? There are things 
I could not tell him. I couldn't explain — I couldn't — ^not 
to him — to no man — to no man in the world " 

His voice dropped. 

"Not to myself," he ended as if in a dream. 

"We have remained unmolested so long here," began Mrs. 
Travers a little unsteadily, "that it makes it very difficult 
to believe in danger, now. We saw no one all these days 
except those two people who came for you. If you may not 
explain " 

"Of course, you can't be expected to see through a wall," 
broke in Lingard. "This coast's like a wall, but I know 
what's on the other side. ... A yacht here of all things 
that float! When I set eyes on her I could fancy she hadn't 
been more than an hour from home. Nothing but the look 
of her spars made me think of old times. And then the 
faces of the chaps on board. I seemed to know them all. 


It was like home coming to me when I wasn't thinking of it. 
And I hated the sight of you all." 

"If we are exposed to any peril," she said after a pause 
during which she tried to penetrate the secret of passion 
hidden behind that man's words, "it need not affect you. 
Our other boat is gone to the Straits and effective help is sure 
to come very soon." 

"Affect me! Is that precious watchman of yours coming 
aft? I don't want anybody to know I came here again 
begging, even of you. Is he coming aft? . . . Listen! 
I've stopped your other boat." 

His head and shoulders disappeared as though he had 
dived into a denser layer of obscurity floating on the water. 
The watchman, who had the intention to stretch himself in 
one of the deck chairs, catching sight of the owner's wife, 
walked straight to the lamp that hung under the ridge pole 
of the awning, and after fumbling with it for a time went 
away forward with an indolent gait. 

"You dared!" Mrs. Travers whisjjered down in an intense 
tone; and directly, Lingard's head emerged again below her 
with an upturned face. 

"It was dare — or give up. The help from the Straits 
would have been too late anyhow if I hadn't the power to 
keep you safe; and if I had the power I could see you 
through it — alone. I expected to find a reasonable man to 
talk to. I ought to have known better. You come from 
too far to understand these things. Well, I dared; I've sent 
after your other boat a fellow who, with me at his back, 
would try to stop the governor of the Straits himself. He 
will do it. Perhaps it's done already. You have nothing 
to hope for. But I am here. You said you believed I 
meant well " 

"Yes," she murmured. 

"That's why I thought I would tell you everything. I 
had to begin with this business about the boat. And what 
do you think of me now? I've cut you off from the rest of 
the earth. You people would disappear like a stone in the 
water. You left one foreign port for another. Who's there 


to trouble about what became of you? Who would know? 
Who could guess? It would be months before they began 
to stir." 

"I understand," she said, steadily, "we are helpless." 

"And alone," he added. 

After a pause she said in a dehberate, restrained voice: 

"What does this mean? Plunder, captivity?" 

"It would have meant death if I hadn't been here," he 

"But you have the power to " 

"Why, do you think, you are alive yet?" he cried. "Jor- 
genson has been arguing with them on shore," he went on, 
more calmly, with a swing of his arm towards where the night 
seemed darkest. "Do you think he would have kept them 
back if they hadn't expected me every day? His words 
would have been nothing without my fist." 

She heard a dull blow struck on the side of the yacht and 
concealed in the same darkness that wrapped the unconcern 
of the earth and sea, the fury and the pain of hearts; she 
smiled above his head, fascinated by the simplicity of images 
and expressions. 

Lingard made a brusque movement, the lively little boat 
being unsteady under his feet, and she spoke slowly, absently, 
as if her thought had been lost in the vagueness of her sen- 

"And this — this — Jorgenson, you said? Who is he?" 

"A man," he answered, "a man like myself." 

"Like yourself?" 

"Just like myself," he said with strange reluctance, as if 
admitting a painful truth. "More sense, perhaps, but less 
luck. Though, since your yacht has turned up here, I begin 
to think that my luck is nothing much to boast of either." 

"Is our presence here so fatal?" 

"It may be death to some. It may be worse than death 
lo me. And it rests with you in a way. Think of that! 
I can never find such another chance again. But that's noth- 
ing! A man who has saved my life once and that I passed 
my word to would think I had thrown him over. But that's 


nothing! Listen! As true as I stand here in my boat talk- 
ing to you, I believe the girl would die of grief." 

"You love her," she said, softly. 

"Like my own daughter," he cried, low. 

Mrs. Travers said "Oh," faintly, and for a moment there 
was a silence, then he began again: 

"Look here. When I was a boy in a trawler, and looked 
at you yacht people, in the Channel ports, you were as 
strange to me as the Malays here are strange to you. I left 
home sixteen years ago and fought my way aU round the 
earth. I had the time to forget where I began. What are 
you to me against these two? If I was to die here on the 
spot would you care? No one would care at home. No 
one in the whole world — but these two." 

"What can I do?" she asked, and waited, leaning 

He seemed to reflect, then lifting his head, spoke gently: 

"Do you understand the danger you are in? Are you 

"I understand the expression you used, of course. Under- 
stand the danger," she went on. "No — decidedly no. And 
— ^honestly — I am not afraid." 

"Aren't you?" he said in a disappointed voice. "Perhaps 
you don't believe me? I believed you, though, when you 
said you were sure I meant well. I trusted you enough to 
come here asking for yoiu: help — telling you what no one 

"You mistake me," she said with impulsive earnestness. 
"This is so extraordinarily imusual — sudden — outside my 

"Aye!" he murmured, "what could you know of danger 
and trouble? You! But perhaps by thinking it over " 

"You want me to think myself into a fright!" Mrs. 
Travers laughed lightly, and in the gloom of his thoughts 
this flash of joyous sound was incongruous and almost ter- 
rible. Next moment the night appeared brilliant like day, 
warm like sunshine; but when she ceased the returning dark- 
ness gave him pain as if it had struck heavily against his 


breast. "I don't think I could do that," she finished in a 
serious tone. 

"Couldn't you?" He hesitated, perplexed. "Things are 
bad enough to make it no shame. I tell you," he said, rap- 
idly, "and I am not a timid man, I may not be able to do 
much if you people don't help me." 

"You want me to pretend I am alarmed?" she asked, 

"Aye, to pretend — as well you may. It's a lot to ask 
of you — who perhaps never had to make-believe a thing 
in your life, isn't it?" 

"It is," she said after a time. 

The unexpected bitterness of her tone struck Lingard with 

"Don't be offended," he entreated. "I've got to plan a 
way out of this mess. It's no play either. Could you pre- 

"Perhaps, if I tried very hard. But to what end?" 

"You must aU shift aboard the brig," he began, speaking 
quickly, "and then we may get over this trouble without 
coming to blows. Now, if you were to say that you wish it; 
that you feel unsafe in the yacht — don't you see?" 

"I see," she pronounced, thoughtfully. 

"The brig is small but the cuddy is fit for a lady," went 
on Lingard with animation. 

"Has it not already sheltered a princess? " she commented, 

"And I shall not intrude." 

"This is an inducement." 

"Nobody will dare to intrude. You needn't even see 

"This is almost decisive, only " 

"I know my place." 

"Only, I might not have the influence," she finished. 

"That I can not believe," he said, roughly. "The long 
and the short of it is you don't trust me because you think 
that only people of your own condition speak the truth 


"Evidently," she murmured. 

"You say to yourself — here's a fellow deep in with pirates, 
thieves, niggers " 

"To be sure " 

"A man I never saw the hke before," went on Lingard, 
headlong, "a — ^ruffian." 

He checked himself, full of confusion. After a time he 
heard her saying, calmly — 

"You are like other men in this, that you get angry 
when you can not have your way at once." 

"I angry!" he exclaimed in deadened voice. "You do 
not understand. I am thinking of you also — it is hard on 
me " 

"I mistrust not you, but my own power. You have 
produced an unfortunate impression on Mr. Travers." 

"Unfortunate impression! He treated me as if I had 
been a long-shore loafer. Never mind that. He is your 
husband. Fear in those you care for is hard to bear for any 
man. And so, he " 

"What Machiavellism!" 

"Eh, what did you say?" 

"I only wondered where you had observed that. On 
the sea?" 

"Observed what?" he said, absently. Then pursuing his 
idea. " One word from you ought to be enough." 

"You think so?" 

"I am sure of it. Why, even I, myself ' 

"Of course," she interrupted. "But don't you think 
that after parting with you on such — such — inimical terms, 
there would be a difficulty in resuming relations? " 

"A man like me would do anything for money — don't 
you see?" 

After a pause she asked: 

"And would you care for that argument to be used?" 

"As long as you know better!" 

His voice vibrated — she drew back disturbed, as if un- 
expectedly he had touched her. 

"What can there be at stake?" she began, wonderingly. 


"A kingdom," said Lingard. 

Mrs. Travers leaned far over the rail, staring, and their 
faces, one above the other, came very close together. 

"Not for yom-self?" she whispered. 

He felt the touch of her breath on his forehead and re- 
mained still for a moment, perfectly still as if he did not 
intend to move or sp>eak any more. 

"Those things," he began, suddenly, "come in your way, 
when you don't think, and they get aU round you before you 
know what you mean to do. When I went into that bay in 
New Guinea I never guessed where that course would take 
me to. I could tell you a story. You woidd understand! 

He stammered, hesitated, and suddenly spoke, liberating 
the visions of two years into the night where Mrs. Travers 
could follow them as if outlined in words of fire. 


HIS tale was as startling as the discovery of a new 
world. She was being taken along the boundary 
of an exciting existence, and she looked into it 
through the guileless enthusiasm of the narrator. The 
heroic quality of the feelings concealed what was dispropor- 
tionate and absurd in that gratitude, in that friendship, 
in that inexplicable devotion. The headlong fierceness of pur- 
pose invested his obscure design of conquest with the propor- 
tions of a great enterprise. It was clear that no vision of a 
subjugated world could have been more inspiring to the most 
famous adventurer of history. 

From time to time he interrupted himself to ask, confidently, 
as if he had been speaking to an old friend, "What would 
you have done? " and hurried on without pausingfor approval. 

It struck her that there was a great passion in all this, 
the beauty of an implanted faculty of affection that had found 
itself, its immediate need of an object and the way of expan- 
sion; a tenderness expressed violently; a tenderness that 
could only be satisfied by backing human beings against 
their own destiny. Perhaps her hate of convention, tram- 
melling the frankness of her own impulse, had rendered her 
more alert to perceive what is intrinsically great and pro- 
found within the forms of hmnan folly, so simple and so 
infinitely varied according to the region of the earth and to 
the moment of time. 

What of it that the narrator was only a common seaman; 
the kingdom of the jungle, the men of the forest, the lives 
obscure! That simple soul was possessed by the greatness 
of the idea; there was nothing sordid in its flaming impulses. 
When she once understood that, the story appealed to the 
audacity of her thoughts, and she became so charmed with 



what she heard that she forgot where she was. She forgot 
that she was personally close to that tale which she saw 
detached, far away from her, truth or fiction, presented in 
picturesque speech, real only by the response of her emotion. 

Lingard paused. In the cessation of the impassioned 
murmur she began to reflect. And at first it was only an 
oppressive notion of there being some significance that really 
mattered in this man's story. That mattered to her. For 
the first time the shadow of danger and death crossed her 
mind. Was that the significance? Suddenly, in a flash of 
acute discernment she saw herself involved helplessly in that 
story, as one is involved in a natural cataclysm. 

He was speaking again. He had not been silent more than 
a minute. It seemed to Mrs. Travers that years had elapsed, 
so different now was the effect of his words. Her mind was 
agitated as if his coming to speak and confide in her had 
been a tremendous occurrence. It was a fact of her own ex- 
istence; it was part of the story also. This was the disturb- 
ing thought. She heard him pronounce several names: 
Belarab, Daman, Tengga, Ningrat. These belonged now to 
her life and she was appalled to find she was unable to con- 
nect these names with any human appearance. They stood 
out alone, as if written on the night; they took on a symbolic 
shape; they imposed themselves upon her senses. She whis- 
pered as if pondering: "Belarab, Daman, Ningrat," and 
these barbarous sounds seemed to possess an exceptional 
energy, a fatal aspect, the savour of madness. 

"Not one of them but has a heavy score to settle with the 
whites. What's that to me! I had somehow to get men 
who would fight. I risked my life to get that lot. I made 

them promises which I shall keep — or ! Can you see now 

why I dared to stop your boat? I am in so deep that I care 
for no Sir John in the world. When I look at the work 
ahead I care for nothing. I gave you one chance — one good 
chance. That I had to do — ^no! I suppose I didn't look 
enough of a gentleman. Yes! Yes! That's it. Yet I 
know what a gentleman is. I lived with them for years. I 
chummed with them— yes — on gold-fields and in other places 


where a man has got to show the stuff that's in him. Some 
of them write from home to me here — such as you see me, 
because I — never mind! And I know what a gentleman 
would do. Come! Wouldn't he treat a stranger fairly? 
Wouldn't he remember that no man is a liar till you prove 
him so? Wouldn't he keep his word wherever given? 
Well, I am going to do that. Not a hair of your head shall 
be touched as long as I Uve ! " 

She had regained much of her composure but at these 
words she felt that staggering sense of utter insecurity which 
is given one by the first tremor of an earthquake. It was 
followed by an expectant stillness of sensations. She re- 
mained silent. He theught she did not believe him. 

"Come! What on earth do you think brought me here 
— to — to — ^talk like this to you? There was Hassim — ^Rajah 
Tulla, I should say — ^who was asking me this afternoon: 
'What will you do now with these, your people?' I believe 
he thinks yet I fetched you here for some reason. You 
can't tell what crooked notion they will get into their thick 
heads. It's enough to make one swear." He swore — "My 
people! Are you? How much? Say — how much? You're 
no more mine than I am yours. Would any of you fine 
folks at home face black ruin to save a fishing smack's 
crew from getting drowned?" 

Notwithstanding that sense of insecurity which lingered 
faintly in her mind she had no image of death before her. 
She felt intensely alive. She felt alive in a flush of strength, 
with an impression of novelty as though life had been the 
gift of this very moment. The danger hidden in the night 
gave no sign to awaken her terror, but the workings of a hu- 
man soul, simple and violent, were laid bare before her and 
had the disturbing charm of an unheard-of experience. 
She was listening to a man who concealed nothing. She 
said, interrogatively — 

"And yet you have come?" 

"Yes," he answered, "to you— and for you only." 

The flood tide running strong over the banks made a placid 
^riclding sound about the yacht's rudder. 


"I would not be saved alone." 

"Then you must bring them over yourself," he said in 
a sombre tone. "There's the brig. You have me — my 
men — ^my guns. You know what to do." 

"I will try," she said. 

"Very well. I am sorry for the poor devils forward there 
if you fail. But of course you won't. Watch that light on 
the brig. I had it hoisted on purpose. The trouble may be 
nearer than we think. Two of my boats are gone scouting 
among the islets and if the news they bring me is bad the 
light will be lowered. Think what that means. And I've 
told you what I have told nobody. Think of my feelings 
also. I told you because I— because I had to." 

He gave a shove against the yacht's side and glided away 
from under her eyes. A rippling sound died out. 

She walked away from the rail. The lamp and the sky- 
lights shone faintly along the dark stretch of the decks. 
This evening was like the last — like all the evenings before. 

"Is all this I have heard possible?" she asked herself. 
"No— but it is true." 

She sat down in a deck chair to think and found she could 
only remember. She jumped up. She was sure somebody 
was hailing the yacht faintly. Was that man hailing? She 
listened, and hearing nothing was annoyed with herself for 
being haunted by a voice. 

"He said he could trust me. Now, what is this danger? 
What is danger?" she meditated. 

Footsteps were coming from, forward. The figure of the 
watchman flitted vaguely over the gangway. He was 
whistling softly and vanished. Hollow sounds in the boat 
were succeeded by a splash of oars. The night swallowed 
these slight noises. Mrs. Travers sat down again and found 
herself much calmer. 

She had the faculty of being able to think her own thoughts 
— and the courage. She could take no action of any kind till 
her husband's return. Lingard's warnings were not what 
had impressed her most. This man had presented his inner- 
most self unclothed by any subterfuge. There were in plain 


sight Ms desires, his perplexities, affections, doubts, his vio- 
lence, his folly; and the existence they made up was lawless 
but not vile. She had too much elevation of mind to look 
upon him from any other but a strictly human standpoint. 
If he trusted her — (how strange; why should he? Was he 
wrong?) — she accepted the trust with scrupulous fairness. 
And when it dawned upon her that of all the men in the world 
this unquestionably was the one she knew best, she had a 
moment of wonder followed by an impression of profound 
sadness. It seemed an unfortunate matter that concerned 
her alone. 

Her thought was suspended while she listened attentively 
for the retiu:n of the yacht's boat. She was dismayed at the 
task before her. Not a sound broke the stillness and she 
felt as if she were lost in empty space. Then suddenly some- 
one amidships yawned immensely and said: "Oh, dear! 
Oh, dear — " a voice asked: "Ain't they back yet?" A 
negative grunt answered 

Mrs. Travers found that Lingard was touching, because 
he could be understood. How simple was life — she reflected. 
She was frank with herself. She considered him apart from 
social organization. She discovered he had no place in it. 
How delightful! Here was a human being and the naked 
truth of things was not so very far from her notwithstanding 
the growth of centuries. Then it occurred to her that this 
man by his action stripped her at once of her position, of 
her wealth, of her rank, of her past. "I am helpless. What 
remains?" she asked herself. Nothing? Anybody there 
might have suggested: "Your presence." She was too ar- 
tificial yet to think of her beauty; and yet the power of per- 
sonality is part of the naked truth of things. 

She looked over her shoulder and saw the light at the brig's 
fore yard-arm biu-ning with a strong, calm flame in the dust 
of starlight suspended above the coast. She heard the heavy 
bump as of a boat run headlong against the ladder. They 
were back! She rose in sudden and extreme agitation. What 
should she say? How much? How to begin? Why say any- 
thing? It would be absurd, Hke talking seriously about a 


dream. She would not dare ! In a moment she was driven 
into a state of mind bordering on distraction. She heard 
somebody run up the gangway steps. With the idea of gain- 
ing time she walked rapidly aft to the taffrail. The light 
of the brig faced her without a flicker, enormous amongst 
the suns scattered in the immensity of the night. 

She fixed her eyes on it. She thought — "I shan't tell him 
anything. Impossible. No! I shall tell everything." She 
expected every moment to hear her husband's voice and the 
suspense was intolerable because she felt that then she must 
decide. Somebody on deck was babbling excitedly. She de- 
voutly hoped d'Alcacer would speak first and thus put off 
the fatal moment. A voice said roughly: "What's that?" 
And in the midst of her distress she recognized Carter's voice, 
having noticed that young man who was of a different 
stamp from the rest of the crew. She came to the conclusion 
that the matter could be related jocularly, or — why not pre- 
tend fear? At that moment the brig's yard-arm light she 
was looking at trembled distinctly, and she was dum- 
founded as if she had seen a commotion in the firmament. 
With her lips open for a cry she saw it fall straight down 
several feet, flicker, and go out. All perplexity passed 
from her mind. This fiirst fact of the danger gave her a thrill 
of quite a new emotion. Something had to be done at once. 
For some remote reason she felt ashamed of her hesitations. 

She moved swiftly forward and under the lamp came face 
to face with Carter who was coming aft. Both stopped, 
staring, the light fell on their faces, and both were struck 
by each other's expression. The four eyes shone wide. 

"You have seen?" she asked, beginning to tremble. 

"How do you know," he said, at the same time, evidently 

Suddenly she saw that everybody was on deck. 

"The light is down," she stammered. 

"The gentlemen are lost," said Carter. Then he per- 
ceived she did not seem to understand. "Kidnapped off 
the sandbank," he continued, looking at her fixedly to see 
how she would take it. She seemed calm. "Kidnapped.. 


like a pair of lambs ! Not a squeak," he burst out with in- 
dignation. "But the sandbank is long and they might 
have been at the other end. You were on deck, ma'am?" 
he asked. 

"Yes," she murmured. "In the chair here." 
"We were all down below. I had to rest a little. When 
I came up the watchman was asleep. He swears he wasn't, 
but I know better. Nobody heard any noise, unless you did. 
But i)erhaps you were asleep?" he asked, deferentisdly. 
"Yes — ^no — I must have been," she said, faintly. 


IINGARD'S soul was exalted by his talk with Edith, 
by the strain of incertitude and by extreme fatigue. 
-^ On returning on board he asked after Ha^sim and 
was told that the Rajah and his sister had gone off in their 
canoe promising to return before midnight. The boats sent 
to scout between the islets north and south of the anchorage 
had not come back yet. He went into his cabin and throw- 
ing himself on the couch closed his eyes thinking — "I must 
sleep or I shall go mad." 

"Will she manage it? If she doesn't I'm ruined." 

At times he felt an unshaken confidence in Mrs. Travers — 
then he remembered her face. Next moment the face would 
fade, he would make an effort to hold on to the image, fail 
— and then become convinced without the shadow of a doubt 
that he was utterly lost, unless he let all these people be 
wiped off the face of the earth. 

"They aU heard that man order me out of his ship" — he 
thought, and thereupon for a second or so he contemplated 
without flinching the lurid image of a massacre. "And yet 
I had to tell her that not a hair of her head shall be touched. 
Not a hair." 

And irrationally at the recollection of these words there 
seemed to be no trouble of any kind left in the world. Now 
and then, however, there were black instants when from 
sheer weariness he thought of nothing at all; and during one 
of these he fell asleep, losing the consciousness of external 
things as suddenly as if he had been felled by a blow on the 

When he sat up, almost before he was properly awake, his 
first alarmed conviction was that he had slept the night 
through. There was a light in the cuddy and through the 



open door of his cabin he saw distinctly Mrs. Travers pass 
out of view across the lighted space. 

"They did-eome on board after all — " he thought — "how 
is it I haven't been called!" 

He darted ipta the cuddy. Nobody ! Looking up at the 
clock in the skyhght he was vexed to see it had stopped till 
his ear caught the faint beat of the mechanism. It was going 
then ! He could not have been asleep more than ten minutes. 
He had not been on board more than twenty ! 

So it was only a deception; he had seen no one. And yet 
he remembered the turn of the head, the line of the neck, the 
colour of the hair, the movement of the passing figure. He 
returned spiritlessly to his state-room muttering — "No more 
sleep for me, to-night," and came out directly, holding a few 
sheets of paper covered with a high, angular handwriting. 

This was Jorgenson's letter written three days before 
and entrusted to Hassim. Lingard had read it already 
twice, but he turned up the lamp a little higher and sat 
down to read it again. On the red shield above his head the 
gilt sheaf of thunder-bolts darting between the initials of his 
name seemed to be aimed straight at the nape of his neck as 
he sat with bared elbows spread on the table, poring over 
the crumpled sheets. 

The letter began: 

Hassim and Immada are going out to-night to look out for you. 
You are behind yoiu: time and every passing day makes things worse. 

Lingard looked at it for some time with a troubled face, 
then laid it aside and went on reading: 

Ten days ago three of Belarab's men, who had been collecting tur- 
tles' eggs on the islets, came flying back with a story of a ship 
stranded on the outer mudflats. Belarab at once forbade any boats 
from leaving the lagoon. So far good. There was a great excite- 
ment in the village. I judge it must be a schooner — ^probably some 
fool of a trader. However, you wUl know all about her when you 
read this. You may say I might have pulled out to sea to have a 
look by myself. But besides Belarab's orders to the contrary, which 


I would attend to for the sake of example, all you are worth in this 
world, Tom, is here in the Emma, under my feet, and I would not 
leave my charge even for half a day. Hassim attended the council 
held every evening in the shed outside Belarab's stockade. That 
holy man Ningrat was for looting that vessel. Hassim reproved 
him saying that the vessel probably was sent by you because no 
white men were known to come inside the shoals. Belarab backed 
up Hassim. Ningrat was very angry and reproached Belarab for 
keeping him, Ningrat, short of opium to smoke. He began by call- 
ing him "O! son," and ended by shouting "O! you worse than an 
unbeliever!" There was a hullabaloo. The followers of Tengga 
were ready to interfere and you know how it is between Tengga and 
Belarab. Datu Tengga always wanted to oust Belarab, and his 
chances were getting pretty good before you turned up and armed 
Belarab's bodyguard with muskets. However, Hassim stopped that 
row, and no one was hiu-t that time. Next day, ivhich was Friday, 
Ningrat after reading the prayers in the mosque talked to the people 
outside. He bleated and capered like an old goat, prophesying mis- 
fortune, ruin and extermination if these whites were allowed to get 
away. He is mad but then they think him a saint, and he had been 
fighting the Dutch for years in his young days. Six of Belarab's 
guard marched down the village street carrying muskets at full cock 
and the crowd cleared out. Ningrat was spirited away by Tengga's 
men into their master's stockade. If it was not for the fear of 
you turning up any moment there would have been a party fight that 
evening. I think it is a pity Tengga is not chief of the land instead 
of Belarab. A brave and foresighted man, however treacherous at 
heart, can always be trusted to a certain extent. One can never get 
anything clear from Belarab. Peace! Peace! You know his fad. 
And this fad makes him act silly. The peace racket will get him into 
a row. It may cost him his life in the end. However, Tengga does 
not feel himself strong enough yet to act with his own followers only 
and Belarab has, on my advice, disarmed all villagers. His men 
went iato the houses and took away by force all the firearms and as 
many spears as they could lay hands on. The women screamed 
abuse of course, but there was no resistance. A few men were seen 
clearing out into the forest with their arms. Note this for it means 
there is another power besides Belarab's in the village. The growing 
power of Tengga. 

One morning — ^four days ago — I went to see Tengga. I foimd 
him by the shore trimming a plank with a small hatchet while a 
slave held an umbrella over his head. He is amusing himself 


in building a boat just now. He threw his hatchet down to 
meet me and led me by the hand to a shady spot. He told me 
frankly he had sent out two good swimmers to observe the stranded 
vessel. These men stole down the creek in a canoe and when on the 
sea coast swam from sandbank to sandbank until they approached 
miobserved — I think — to about fifty yards from that schooner. 
What can that craft be.'' I can't make it out. The men reported 
there were three chiefs on board. One with a glittering eye, one a 
lean man in white and another without any hair on the face and 
dressed in a different style. Could it be a woman? I don't know 
what to think. I wish you were here. After a lot of chatter Tengga 
said, "Six years ago I was ruler of a coimtry and the Dutch drove me 
out. The country was small but nothing is too small for them to 
take. They pretended to give it back to my nephew — may he burn ! 
I ran away or they would have killed me. I am nothing here — but 
I remember. These white people out there can not run away and 
they are very few. There is perhaps a little to loot. I would give it 
to my men who followed me in my calamity because I am their chief 
and my father was the chief of their fathers." I pointed out the 
imprudence of this. He said — "the dead do not show the way." 
To this I remarked that the ignorant do not give information. 
Tengga kept quiet for a while, then said: "We must not touch them 
because their skin is like yours and to kiU them would be wrong, 
but at the bidding of you whites we may go and fight with people of 
our own skin and oux own faith — and that is good. I have promised 
to Tuan Lingard twenty men and a prau to make war in Wajo. The 
men are good and look at the prau; it is swift and strong." I must 
say, Tom, the prau is the best craft of the kind I have ever seen. I 
said you paid him well for the help. "And I also would pay," says 
he, "if you let me have a few guns and a little powder for my men. 
You and I shall share the loot of that ship outside, and Tuan Lingard 
will not know. It is only a little game. You have plenty of guns 
and powder under your care." He meant in the Emma. On that 
I spoke out pretty straight and we got rather warm until at last he 
gave me to understand that as he had about forty followers of his 
own and I had only nine of Hassim's chaps to defend the Emma 
with, he could very well go for me and get the lot. "And then," 
says he, " I would be so strong that everybody would be on my side." 
I discovered in the com-se of further talk that there is a notion 
amongst many people that you have come to grief in some way and 

won't show up here any more . After this I saw the position was 

serious and I was in a hurry to get back to the Emma, but pretending 


I did not care I smiled and thanked Tengga for giving me warning of 
his intentions about me and the Emma. At this he nearly choked 
himself with his betel quid and fixing me with his little eyes, mut- 
tered — "even a lizard will give a fly the time to say its prayers." I 
turned my back on him and was very thankful to get beyond the 
throw of a spear. I haven't been out of the Emma since. 


THE letter went on to enlarge on the intrigues of 
Tengga, the wavering conduct of Belarab and the state 
of the public mind. It noted every gust of opinion 
and every event, with an earnestness of belief in their import^ 
ance befitting the chronicle of a crisis in the history of an 
empire. The shade of Jorgenson had, indeed, stepped back 
into the life of men. The old adventurer looked on with a 
perfect understanding of the value of trifles, using his eyes 
for that other man whose conscience would have the task to 
unravel the tangle. Lingard lived through those days in the 
Settlement and was thankful to Jorgenson; only as he lived 
not from day to day but from sentence to sentence of the 
writing, there was an effect of bewildering rapidity in the suc- 
cession of events that made him grunt with surprise some- 
times or growl — "What?" to himself angrily and turn back 
several lines or a whole page more than once. Towards the 
end he had a heavy frown of perplexity and fidgeted as he 

— and I began to think I could keep things quiet till you came or 
those wretched white people got their schooner ofiF, when Sheriff 
Daman arrived from the north on the very day he was expected, 
with two Ulanun praus. He looks like an Arab. It is very evident 
to me he can wind the two Illanun pangerans round his little finger. 
The two praus are large and armed. They came up the creek, flags 
and streamers flying, beating drums and gongs and entered the 
lagoon with their decks full of armed men brandishing two-handed 
swords and sounding the war cry. It is a fine force for you, only 
Belarab who is a perverse devil would not receive Sheriff Daman at 
once. So Daman went to see Tengga who detained him a very long 
time. Leaving Tengga he came on board the Emma, and I could 
see directly there was something up. 

He began by asking me for the ammunition and weapons they are 



to get from you, saying he was anxious to sail at once towards Wajo, 
since it was agreed he was to precede you by a few days. I replied 
that that was true enough but that I could not think of giving him 
the powder and muskets till you came. He began to talk about you 
and hinted that perhaps you will never come. "And no matter," 
says he, "here is Rajah Hassim and the Lady Immada and we would 
fight for them if no white man was left in the world. Only we must 
have something to fight with." He pretended then to forget me 
altogether and talked with Hassim while I sat listening. He began 
to boast how well he got along the Bruni coast. No Elanun prau 
had passed down that coast for years. 

Immada wanted me to give the arms he was asking for. The girl 
is beside herself with fear of something happening that would put a 
stopper on the Wajo expedition. She has set her mind on getting her 
coimtry back. Hassim is very reserved but he is very anxious, too. 
Daman got nothing from me, and that very evening the praus were 
ordered by Belarab to leave the lagoon. He does not trust the Dla- 
mms and small blame to him. Sheriff Daman went like a lamb. 
He has no powder for his guns. As the praus passed by the Emtp.a 
he shouted to me he was going to wait for you outside the creek. 
Tengga has given him a man who would show him the place. All 
Ihis looks very queer to me. 

Look out outside then. The praus are dodging amongst the islets. 
Daman visits Tengga. Tengga called on me as a gcK)d friend to try 
and persuade me to give Daman the arms and gunpowder he is so 
anxious to get. Somehow or other they tried to get around Belarab, 
who came to see me last night and hinted I had better do so. He 
is anxious for these Ulanmis to leave the neighbourhood. He tliinks 
that if they loot the schooner they will be off at once. That's all he 
wants now. Immada has been to see Belarab's women and stopped 
two nights in the stockade. Belarab's youngest wife — he got 
married six weeks ago — is on the side of Tengga's party because she 
thinks Belarab would get a share of the loot and she got into her sUly 
head there are jewels and silks in that schooner. ^Yhat between 
Tengga worrying him outside and the women worrying him at home, 
Belarab had such a liAcly time of it that he concluded he would go 
to pray at his father's tomb. So for the last two days he has been 
away camping in that unhealthy place. When he comes back he 
will be down with fever as sure as fate and then he will be no good for 
anything. Tengga lights up smoky fires often. Some signal to 
Daman. I go ashore with Hassim's men and put them out. This 
risking a fight every time for Tengga's men looked very black at us. 


I don't know what the next move may be. Hassim's as true as steel. 
Immada is very unhappy. They will tell you many details I have 
no time to write. 

The last page fluttered on the table out of Lingard's fingers. 
He sat very still for a moment looking straight before him, 
then went on deck. 

"Our boats back yet ? " he asked Shaw, whom he saw prowl- 
ing on the quarter-deck. 

"No, sir, I wish they were. I am waiting for them to go 
and turn in," answered the mate in an aggrieved manner. 

"Lower that lantern forward there," cried Lingard, sud- 
denly, in Malay. 

"This trade isn't fit for a decent man," muttered Shaw 
to himself, and he moved away to lean on the rail, looking 
moodily to seaward. After a while: "There seems to be 
commotion on board that yacht," he said. "I see a lot of 
lights moving about her declcs. Anything wrong do you 
think, sir?" 

"No, I know what it is," said Lingard in a tone of elation. 
She has done it! he thought. 

He returned to the cabin, put away Jorgenson's letter and 
pulled out the drawer of the table. It was full of cartridges. 
He took a musket down, loaded it, then took another and 
another. He hammered at the waddings with fierce joyous- 
ness, with something impatient in his movements. The 
ramrods rang and jumped. It seemed to him he was doing 
his share of some work in which that woman was playing her 
part faithfully. 

"She has done it," he repeated, mentally. 

"She will sit in the cuddy. She will sleep in my berth. 
Well, I'm not ashamed of the brig. By heavens— no! I 
shall keep away; never come near them as I've promised. 
Now there's nothing more to say. I've told her everything 
at once. There's nothing more." 

He felt a heaviness in his burning breast, in all his limbs 
as if the blood in his veins had become molten lead. 

"I shall get the yacht off. Three, four days — no, a week." 


He found he couldn't do it under a week. It occurred to 
him he would see her every day till the yacht was afloat. 
No, he wouldn't intrude, but he was master and owner of the 
brig after all. He didn't mean to skulk like a whipped cur 
about his own decks. 

"It'll be ten days before the schooner is ready. I'll take 
every scrap of ballast out of her. I'll strip her — I'll take her 
lower masts out of her, by heavens! I'll make sure. Then 
another week to fit out — and — good-bye. Wish I had never 
seen them. Good-bye — forever. Home's the place for them. 
Not for me. On another coast she would not have listened. 
Ah, but she is a woman — every inch of her. I shall shake 
hands. Yes. I shall take her hand just before she goes. 
Why the devil not? I am master here after all — ^in this brig 
— as good as any one — by heavens, better than any one — 
better than any one on earth." 

He heard Shaw walk smartly forward above his head 
hailing — 

"What's that— a boat?" 

A voice answered indistinctly. 

"One of my boats is back," thought Lingard. "News 
about Daman perhaps. I don't care if he kicks. I wish he 
would. I would soon show her I can fight as well as I can 
handle the brig. Two praus. Only two praus. I wouldn't 
mind if there were twenty. I would sweep' em off the sea — 
I would blow 'em out of the water — -I would make the brig 
walk over them. 'Now,' I'd say to her, 'you who are not 
afraid, look how it's done!'" 

He felt light. He had the sensation of being whirled high 
in the midst of an uproar and as powerless as a feather in 
a hurricane. He shuddered profoundly. His arms hung 
down, and he stood before the table staring like a man over- 
come by some fatal intelligence. 

Shaw, going into the waist to receive what he thought was 
one of the brig's boats, came against Carter making his way 
aft hurriedly. 

"Hullo! Is it you again?" he said, swiftly, barring the 


"I come from the yacht," began Carter with some Impa- 

"Where else could you come from?" said Shaw. "And 
what might you want now?" 

" I want to see your skipper." 

"Well, you can't," declared Shaw, viciously. "He's turned 
in for the night." 

"He expects me," said Carter, stamping his foot. "I've 
got to tell him what happened." 

"Don't you fret yourself, young man," said Shaw in a su- 
perior manner; "he knows all about it." 

They stood suddenly silent in the dark. Carter seemed 
at a loss what to do. Shaw, though surprised by it, enjoyed 
the efPect he had produced. 

"Hang me, if I did not think so," murmured Carter to 
himself; then drawling coolly asked — "And perhaps you 
know, too?" 

"What do you think? Think I am a dummy here? I 
ain't mate of this brig for nothing."' 

"No, you are not," said Carter with a certain bitterness 
of tone. "People do all kinds of queer things for a living, 
and I am not particular myself but I would think twice 
before taking your billet." 

• "What? What do you in-si-nu-ate. My billet? You 
ain't fit for it, you yacht-swabbing brass-buttoned im- 

"What's this? Any of our boats back?" asked Lingard 
from the poop. "Let the seacannie in charge come to me at 

"There's only a message from the yacht," began Shaw, de- 

"Yacht! Get the deck lamps along here in the waist! 
See the ladder lowered. Bear a hand, Serang! Mr. Shaw! 
Burn the flare-up aft. Two of them! Give light to the 
yacht's boats that will be coming alongside. Steward! 
Where's that steward? Turn him out then." 

Bare feet began to patter all round Carter. Shadows 
glided swiftly. 


"Are these flares coming? Where's the quartermaster 
on duty?" shouted Lingard in Enghsh and Malay. "This 
way, come here! Put it on a rocket stick — can't you? 
Hold over the side — thus! Stand by with the Unes for the 
boats forward there. Mr. Shaw — we want morehght!" 

"Aye, aye, sir," called out Shaw, but he did not move, 
as if dazed by the vehemence of his commander. 

"That's what we want," muttered Carter under his breath. 
"Imposter! What do you call yourself?" he said half aloud 
to Shaw. 

The ruddy glare of the flares disclosed Lingard from head 
to foot, standing at the break of the poop. His head was 
bare, his face, crudely lighted, had a fierce and changing 
expression in the sway of flames. 

"What can be his game," thought Carter, Impressed by 
the powerful and wild aspect of that figure. "He's changed 
somehow since I saw him first," he reflected. 

It struck him the change was serious, not exactly for the 
worse, perhaps — and yet. . . . Lingard smiled at him 
from the poop. 

Carter went up the steps and without pausing informed 
him of what had happened. 

"Mrs. Travers told me to go to you at once. She's very 
upset fcS you may guess," he drawled, looking Lingard hard 
in the face. Lingard knitted liis eyebrows. "The hands, too, 
are scared," Carter went on. "They fancy the savages, 
or whatever they may be who stole the owner, are going to 
board the vacht every minute. I don't think so myseK 

"Quite right — most unlikely," muttered Lingard. 

"Aye, I daresay you know aU about it," continued Carter, 
coolly, "the men are startled and no mistake, but I can't 
blame them very much. There isn't enough even of carving 
knives aboard to go round. One old signal gun! A poor 
show for better men than they." 

"There's no mistake I suppose about this affair?" asked 

"Well, unless the gentlemen are having a lark with us 


at hide and seek. The man says he waited ten minutes at 
the point, then pulled slowly along the bank looking out, 
expecting to see them walking back. He made the trunk of a 
tree apparently stranded on the sand and as he was sculling 
past he says a man jumped up from behind that log, flung 
a stick at him and went ofif running. He backed water at 
once and began to shout. 'Are you there, sir?' No one 
answered. He could hear the bushes rustle and some strange 
noises like whisperings. It was very dark. After calling 
out several times, and waiting on his oars he got frightened 
and pulled back to the yacht. That is clear enough. The 
only doubt in my mind is if they are alive or not. I didn't 
let on to Mrs. Travers. That's a kind of thing you keep to 
yourself, of course." 

"I don't think they are dead," said Lingard, slowly, and 
as if thinking of something else. 

"Oh! If you say so it's all right," said Carter with delib- 

" What.? " asked Lingard, absently; "fling a stick, did they? 
Fling a spear!" 

"That's it!" assented Carter, "but I didn't say anything. 
I only wondered if the same kind of stick hadn't been flung 
at the owner, that's all. But I suppose you know your 
business best. Captain." 

Lingard, grasping his whole beard, reflected profoundly, 
erect and with bowed head in the glare of the flares. 

"I suppose you think it's my doing.?" he asked, sharply, 
without looking up. 

Carter surveyed him with a candidly curious gaze. 

"Well, Captain, Mrs. Travers did let on a bit to me about 
our chief -officer's boat. You've stopped it, haven't you? , 
How she got to know God only knows. She was sorry she 
spoke, too, but it wasn't so much of news to me as she 
thought. I can put two and two together, sometimes. 
Those rockets, last night, eh? I wished I had bitten my 
tongue out before I told you about our first gig. But I 
was taken unawares. Wasn't I? I put it to yOu: wasn't I? 
And so I told her when she asked me what passed between 


you and me on board this brig, not twenty-four hours ago. 
Things look different now, all of a sudden. Enough to scare 
a woman, but she is the best man of them all on board. 
The others are fairly off the chump because it's a bit dark and 
something has happened they ain't used to. But she has 
something on her mind. I can't make her out!" He 
paused, wriggled his shoulders slightly — "No more than I 
can make you out," he added. 

"That's your trouble, is it?" said Lingard, slowly. . 

"Aye, Captain. Is it all clear to you? Stopping boats, 
kidnapping gentlemen. That's fun in a way, only — I am 
a youngster to you — but is it all clear to you? Old Robinson 
wasn't particular, you know, and he •" 

"Clearer than dayhght," cried Lingard, hotly, "I can't 
give up- 

He checked himself. Carter waited. The flare bearers 
stood rigid, turning their faces away from the flame, and in 
the play of gleams at its foot the mast near by, like a lofty 
column, ascended in the great darkness. A lot of ropes ran 
up slanting into a dark void and were lost to sight, but high 
aloft a brace block gleamed white, the end of a yard-arm 
could be seen suspended in the air and as if glowing with its 
own light. The sky had clouded over the brig without a 
breath of wind. 

"Give up," repeated Carter with an uneasy shuffle of feet. 

" — nobody," finished Lingard. "I can't. It's as clear 
as dayhght. I can't! No! Nothing!" 

He stared straight out afar, and after looking at him 
Carter felt moved by a bit of youthful intuition to murmur, 
"That's bad," in a tone that almost in spite of himself hinted 
at the dawning of a befogged compassion. 

He had a sense of confusion within him, the sense of mys- 
tery without. He had never experienced anything like it all 
the time when serving with old Robinson in the Ly-e-moon. 
And yet he had seen and taken part in some queer doings 
that were not clear to him at the time. They were secret 
but they suggested something comprehensible. This affair 
did not. It had somehow a subtlety that affected him. 


He was uneasy as if there had been a breath of magic on 
events and men giving to this comphcation of a yachting 
voyage a significance impossible to perceive, but felt in the 
words, in the gestures, in the events, which made them all 
-Strangely, obscurely startling. 

He was not one who could keep track of his sensations, 
and besides he had not the leisure. He had to answer Lin- 
gard's questions about the people of the yacht. No, he 
couldn't say Mrs. Travers was what you may call frightened. 
She seemed to have something in her mind. Oh, yes! The 
chaps were in a funk. Would they fight? Anybody would 
fight when driven to it, funk or no funk. That was his expe- 
rience. Naturally one liked to have something better than 
a handspike to do it with. Still 

In the pause Carter seemed to weigh with composure the 
chances of men with handspikes. 

" What do you want to fight us for? " he asked, suddenly. 

Lingard started. 

"I don't," he said; "I wouldn't be asking you." 

"There's no saying what you would do, Captain," replied 
Carter; "it isn't twenty-four hours since you wanted to 
shoot me." 

"I only said I would, rather than let you go raising trouble 
for me," explained Lingard. 

"One night isn't like another," mumbled Carter, "but 
how am I to know? It seems to me you are making trouble 
for yourself as fast as you can." 

"Well, supposing I am," said Lingard with sudden gloomi- 
ness. "Would your men fight if I armed them properly?" 

"What — ^for you or for themselves?" asked Carter. 

"For the woman," biu-st out Lingard. "You forget 
there's a woman on board. I don't care that for their car- 

Carter pondered conscientiously. 

"Not to-night," he said at last. "There's one or two good 
men amongst them, but the rest are struck all of a heap. 
Not to-night. Give them time to get steady a bit if you 
want them to fight." 


He gave facts and opinions with a mixture of loyalty and 
mistrust. His own state puzzled him exceedingly. He 
couldn't make out anything, he did not know what to believe 
and yet he had an impulsive desire, an inspired desire to help 
the man. At times it appeared a necessity— at others policy; 
between whiles a great folly, which perhaps did not matter 
because he suspected himself of being helpless anyway. 
Then he had moments of anger. In those moments he would 
feel in his pocket the butt of a loaded pistol. He had pro- 
vided himself with the weapon, when directed by Mrs. 
Travers to go on board the brig. 

"If he wants to interfere with me, I'll let drive at him, and 
take my chance of getting away," he had explained, hurriedly. 

He remembered how startled IVIrs. Travers looked. Of 
course, a woman like that — not used to hear such talk. 
Therefore it was no use listening to her, except for good man- 
ners' sake. Once bit twice shy. He had no mind to be 
kidnapped, not he, nor bullied either. 

''I can't let him nab me, too. You will want me now, 
Mrs. Travers," he had said; "and I promise you not to fire 
off the old thing unless he jolly well forces me to." 

He wa.s youthfully wise in his resolution not to give way 
to her entreaties, though her extraordinary agitation did 
stagger him for a moment. WTien the boat was already on 
its way to the brig, he remembered her calling out after 

"You must not! You don't understand." 

Her voice coming faintly in Ihc darkness moved him, it 
resembled so much a cry of distress. 

" Give way, boys, give way," he urged his men. 

He was wise, resolute, and he was also youthful enough 
to almost wiih it should "come to it." And with foresight 
he even instructed the boat's crew to keep the gig just abaft 
the main rigging of the brig. 

"When you see me drop into her all of a sudden, shove 
off and pull for dear life." 

Somehow just then he was not so anxious for a shot, but 
he held on with a determined mental grasp to his fine resolu- 


tion, lest it should slip away from him and perish in a sea 
of doubts. 

"Hadn't I better get back to the yacht?" he asked, 

Getting no answer he went on with deliberation: 

"Mrs. Travers ordered me to say that no matter how this 
came about she is ready to trust you. She is waiting for some 
kind of answer, I suppose." 

"Ready to trust me," repeated Lingard. His eyes lit 
up fiercely. 

Every sway of flares tossed sUghtly to and fro the massy 
shadows of the main deck, where here and there the figure 
of a man could be seen standing very still with a dusky face 
and glittering eyeballs. 

Carter stole his hand warily into his breast pocket — 

"Well, Captain," he said. He was not going to be bullied, 
let the owner's wife trust whom she liked. 

"Have you got anything in writing for me there.''" asked 
Lingard, advancing a pace, exultingly. 

Carter, alert, stepped back to keep his distance. Shaw 
stared from the side; his rubicund cheeks quivered, his round 
eyes seemed starting out of his head, and his mouth was 
open as though he had been ready to choke with pent-up 
curiosity, amazement and indignation. 

"No! Not in writing," said Carter, steadily and low. 

Lingard had the air of being awakened by a shout. 
A heavy and darkening frown seemed to fall out of the 
night upon his forehead and swiftly passed into the night 
again, and when it departed it left him so calm, his glance 
so lucid, his mien so composed that it was difficult to believe 
the man's heart had undergone within the last second the trial 
of humihation and of danger. He smiled sadly. 

"Well, young man," he asked with a kind of good- 
humoured resignation, "what is it you have there? A knife 
or a pistol?" 

"A pistol," said Carter. "Are you surprised, Captain?" 
He spoke with heat because a sense of regret was stealing 
slowly within him, as stealthily, as irresistibly as the flowing 


tide. "Who began these tricks?" He withdrew his hand, 
empty, and raised his voice. "You are up to something I 
can't make out. You — ^you are not straight." 

The flares held on high streamed right up without swaying, 
and in that instant of profound cahn the shadows on the 
brig's deck became as still as the men. 

"You think not?" said Lingard, thoughtfully. 

Carter nodded. He resented the turn of the incident and 
the growing impulse to surrender to that man. 

"Mrs. Travers trusts me though," said Lingard with gentle 
triumph as if advancing an unanswerable argument. 

"So she says," grunted Carter; "I warned her. She's a 
baby. They're all as innocent as babies there. And you 
know it. And I know it. I've heard of yoiu" kindf You 
would dump the lot of us overboard if it served your turn. 
That's what I think." 

"And that's all." 

Carter nodded slightly and looked away. There was a 
silence. Lingard's eyes travelled over the brig. The 
lighted part of the vessel appeared in bright and wavering 
detail walled and canopied by the night. He felt a light 
breath on his face. The air was stirring, but the shallows, 
silent and lost in the darkness, gave no sound of life. 

This stillness oppressed Lingard. The world of his en- 
deavours and his hopes seemed dead, seemed gone. His 
desire existed homeless in the obscurity that had devoured 
his corner of the sea, this stretch of the coast, his certitude 
of success. And here in the midst of what was the domain 
of his adventurous soul there was a lost youngster ready to 
shoot him on suspicion of some extravagant treachery. 
Came ready to shoot! That's good, too! He was too weary 
to laugh — and perhaps also too sad. Also the danger of the 
pistol-shot, which he believed real — the young are rash — ir- 
ritated him. The night and the spot were full of contradic- 
tions. It was impossible to say who in this shadowy warfare 
was to be an enemy, and who were the allies. So close were 
the contacts issuing from this comphcation of a yachting 
voyage, that he seemed to have them all within his breast. 


"Shoot me! He is quite up to that trick — ^hang 
him. Yet I would trust him sooner than any man in that 

Such were his thoughts while he looked at Carter, who was 
biting his lips, in the vexation of the long silence. When they 
spoke again to each other they talked soberly, with a 
sense of relief, as if they had come into cool air from an 
overheated room; and when Carter, dismissed, went into his 
boat, he had practically agreed to the line of action traced by 
Lingard for the crew of the yacht. He had agreed as if in 
implicit confidence. It was one of the absurdities of the situ- 
ation which had to be accepted and could never be under- 

"Do I talk straight now?" had asked Lingard. 

"It seems straight enough," assented Carter with an air 
of reserve; "I will work with you so far anyhow." 

"Mrs. Travers trusts me," remarked Lingard again. 

"By the Lord Harry," cried Carter, giving way suddenly 
to some latent conviction. "I was warning her against you. 
Say, Captain, you are a devil of a man. How did you 
manage it.?" 

"I trusted her," said Lingard. 

"Did you?" cried the amazed Carter. "When? How? 
Where " 

"You know too much already," retorted Lingard, quietly. 
"Waste no time. I will be after you." 

Carter whistled low. 

"There's a pair of you I can't make out," he called back, 
hurrying over the side. 

Shaw took this opportunity to approach. Beginning with 
hesitation: "A word with you, sir," the mate went on to 
say he was a respectable man. He delivered himself in a 
ringing, imsteady voice. He was married, he had children, 
he abhorred illegality. The hght played about his obese 
figure, he had flung his mushroom hat on the deck, he was 
not afraid to speak the truth. The gray moustache stood 
out aggressively, his glances were imeasy; he pressed his 
hands to his stomach convulsively, opened his thick, short 


arms wide, wished it to be understood he had been chief- 
officer of home ships, with a spotless character and he hoped 
"quite up to his work." He was a peaceable man, none more; 
disposed to stretch a point when it "came to a difference with 
niggers of some kind." "They had to be taught manners and 
reason " and he was not averse at a pinch to — but here were 
white people-^gentlemen, ladies, not to speak of the crew. 
He had never spoken to a superior like this before, and this 
was prudence, his conviction, a point of view, a point of 
principle, a conscious superiority and a burst of resentment 
hoarded through years against all the successive and unsatis- 
factory capta'ns of his existence. There never had been 
such an opportunity to show he could not be put upon. He 
had one of them on a string and he was going to lead him a 
dance. There was courage, too, in it, since he believed him- 
self fallen unawares into the clutches of a particularly des- 
perate man and beyond the reach of law. 

A certain small amount of calculation entered the audacity of 
his remonstrance. Perhaps — it flashed upon him — the yaclit's 
gentry will hear I stood up for them. This could conceivably 
be of advantage to a man who v.anted a lift in the world. 
"Owner of a yacht — badly scared — a gentleman — money 
nothing to him." Thereupon Shaw declared with heat that 
he couldn't be an accessory either after or before the fact. 
Those that never went home — who had nothing to go to 
perhaps — he interjected, hurriedly, could do as they liked. 
He couldn't. He had a wife, a family, a little house — paid 
for — with difficulty. He followed the sea respectably out 
and home, all regular, not vagabonding here and there chum- 
ming with the first nigger that came along and laying traps 
for his betters. 

One of the two flare-bearers sighed at his elbow, and shifted 
his weight to the other foot. 

These t^o had been keeping so perfectly «till that the 
movement was as startling as if a statue had ch.anged its 
pose. After looking at the offender with cold malevolence^ 
Shaw went on to speak of law-courts, of trials and of the 
liberty of the subject; then he pointed out the certitude and 


the inconvenience of beiag found out, affecting for the mo- 
ment the dispassionateness of wisdom. 

"There will be fifteen years in jail at the end of this job 
for everybody," said Shaw, "and I have a boy that don't 
know his father yet. Fine things for him to learn when he 
grows up. The innocent are dead certain here to catch it 
along with you. The missus will break her heart imless she 
starves first. Home sold up." 

He saw a mysterious iniquity in a dangerous relation to 
himself and began to lose his head. What he really wanted 
was to have his existence left intact, for his own cherishing 
and pride. It was a moral aspiration, but ia his alarm the 
native grossness of his nature came clattei-ing out like a 
devil out of a trap. He would blow the gaff, split, give 
away the whole show, he would back up honest people, 
kiss the book, say what he thought, let all the world know 
. . . and when he paused to draw breath, all around him 
was silent and still. Before the impetus of that respectable 
passion his words were scattered like chaff driven by a gale 
and rushed headlong into the night of the shallows. And 
in the great obscurity, imperturbable, it heard him say he 
"washed his hands of everything." 

"And the brig? " said Lingard, suddenly. 

Shaw was checked. For a second the seaman in him 
instinctively admitted the claim of the ship. 

"The brig. The brig. She's right enough," he mumbled. 
He had nothing to say against the brig — not he. She 
wasn't like the big ships he was used to, but of her kind the 
best craft he ever. . . . And with a brusque return upon 
himself, he protested that he had been decoyed on board under 
false pretences. It was as bad as being shanghaied when in 
liquor. It was — upon his soul. And into a craft next thing 
to a pirate ! That was the name for it or his own name was 
not Shaw. He said this glaring owlishly. Lingard, per- 
fectly stiU and mute, bore the blows without a sign. 

The silly fuss of that man seared his very soul. There 
was no end to this plague of fools coming to him from 
the forgotten ends of the earth. A fellow like that could not 


be told. No one could be told. Blind they came and 
blind they would go out. He admitted reluctantly, but 
without doubt, that as if pushed by a force from 
outside he would have to try and save two of them. 
To this end he foresaw the probable need of leaving his brig 
for a time. He would have to leave her with that man. 
The mate. He had engaged him himself — to make his insur- 
ance valid — to be able sometimes to speak — to have near 
him. Who would have believed such a fool-man could exist 
on the face of the sea! Who? Leave the brig with him. 
The brig! 

Ever since sunset, the breeze kept off by the heat of the 
day had been trying to re-establish in the darkness its sway 
over the shoals. Its approaches had been heard in the night, 
its patient murmurs, its foiled sighs; but now a surprisingly 
heavy puff came in a free rush as if, far away there to the 
northward, the last defence of the calm had been victoriously 
carried. The flames borne down streamed bluishly, hori- 
zontal and noisy at the end of tall sticks, like fluttering pen- 
nants; and behold, the shadows on the deck went mad and 
jostled each other as if trying to escape from a doomed craft, 
the darkness, held up dome-like by the brilliant glare, seemed 
to tumble headlong upon the brig in an overwhelming down- 
fall, the men stood swaying as tf ready to fall under the ruins 
of a black and noiseless disaster. The blurred outlines of the 
brig, the masts, the rigging, seemed to shudder in the terror 
of coming extinction — and then the darkness leaped upwards 
again, the shadows returned to their places, the men were 
seen distinct, swarthy, with calm faces, with glittering eye- 
balls. The destruction in the breath had passed, was 

A discord of three voices raised together in a drawling 
wail trailed on the sudden immobility of the air. 

" Brig ahoy ! Give us a rope ! " 

The first boat load from the yacht emerged floating 
slowly into the pool of purple light wavering round 
the brig on the black water. Two men squeezed in 
the bows pulled imcomfortably; in the middle, on a 


heap of seamen's canvas bags, another sat, insecure, prop- 
ped with both arms, stiff-legged, angularly helpless. 
The light from the poop brought everything out in lurid 
detail, and the boat floating slowly towards the brig had a 
suspicious and pitiful aspect. The shabby load Ivunbering 
her looked somehow as i£ it had been stolen by those men 
who resembled castaways. In the stem-sheets Carter, 
standing up, steered with his leg. . He had a smile of youthful 

"Here they are!" he cried to Lingard. "You've got your 
own way, Captain. I thought I had better come myself 
with the first precious lot " 

"Pull round the stern. The brig's on the swing," in- 
terrupted Lingard. 

"Aye! Aye. We'll try not to smash the brig. We would 
be lost indeed if — ^fend off there, John; fend off, old reliable, 
if you care a pin for yoiu* salty hide. I hke the old 
chap," he said, when he stood by Lingard's side looking 
down at the boat which was being rapidly cleared by whites 
and Malays working shoulder to shoulder in silence. "I 
like him. He don't belong to that yachting lot either. 
They picked him up on the road somewhere. Look at the 
old dog — carved out of a ship's timber — talkative like a fish 
— grim like a gutted wreck. That's the man for me. All 
the others there are married, or going to be, or ought to be, 
or sorry they ain't. Every man jack of them has a petticoat 
in tow — dash me! Never heard in all my travels such a 
jabber about wives and kids. Hurry up with yoiu* 
dunnage — ^below there! Aye! I had no difficulty in 
getting them to clear out from the yacht. They never 
saw a pair of gents stolen before — ^you imderstand. It 
upset aU their little notions of what a stranding means, here- 
abouts. Not that mine aren't mixed a bit, too — and yet I've 
seen a thing or two." 

His excitement was revealed in this boyish impulse to 

"Look," he said, pointing at the growing pile of bags and 
bedding on the brig's quarter-deck. "Look. Don't they 


mean to sleep soft — and dream of home — maybe. Home. 
Think of that, Captain. These chaps can't get clear away 
from it. It isn't like you and me " 

Lingard made a movement. 

"I ran away myself when so high. My old man's a 
Trinity pilot. That's a job worth staying at home for. 
Mother writes sometimes, but they can't miss me much. 
There's fourteen of us altogether — eight at home yet. No 
fear of the old country ever getting undermanned — let die 
who must. Only let it be a fair game, Captain. Let's have 
a fair show." 

Lingard assured him briefly he should have it. That was 
the very reason he wanted the yacht's crew in the brig, he 
added. Then quiet and grave he inquired whether that 
pistol was still in Carter's pocket. 

"Never mind that," said the young man, hurriedly. "Re- 
member who began. To be shot' at wouldn't rile me so 
much — it's being threatened, don't you see, that was 
heavy on my chest. Last night is very far off though — ■ 
and I will be hanged if I know what I meant exactly when I 
took the old thing from its nail. There. More I can't say 
till all's settled one way or another. Will that do?" 

Flushing brick red, he suspended his judgment and stayed 
his hand with the generosity of youth. 

Apparently it suited Lingard to be reprieved in that form. 
He bowed his head slowly. It would do. To leave his life to 
that youngster's ignorance seemed to redress the balance of 
his mind against a lot of secret intentions. It was distasteful 
and bitter, as an expiation should be. He also held a life in 
bis hand; a life, and many deaths besides, but these were like 
one single feather in the scales of his conscience. That he 
should feel so was unavoidable because his strength would at 
no price permit itself to be wasted. It would not be — and 
there was an end of it. All he could do was to throw in 
another risk into the sea of risks. Thus was he enabled to 
recognize that a drop of water in the ocean makes a great 
difference. His very desire, unconquered, but exiled, had 
left the place where he could constantly hear its voice. He 


saw it, he saw himself, the past, the future, he saw it all, 
shifting and indistinct like those shapes the strained eyes of 
a wanderer outlines in darker strokes upon the face of the 



WHEN Lingard went to his boat to follow Carter, who 
had gone back to the yacht, Wasub, mast and sail on 
shoulder, preceded him down the ladder. The old 
man leaped in smartly and busied himself in getting the 
dinghy ready for his commander. 

In that little boat Lingard was accustomed to traverse 
the shallows alone. She had a short mast and a lug-sail, 
carried two easily, floated in a few inches of water. In her 
he was independent of a crew, and, if the wind failed, could 
make his way with a pair of sculls taking short cuts over 
shoal places. There were so many islets and sandbanks 
that in case of sudden bad weather there was always a lee 
to be found, and when he wished to land he could pull her 
up a beach, striding ahead, painter in hand, Uke a giant child 
dragging a toy boat. When the brig was anchored within 
the shallows it was in her that he visited the lagoon. Once, 
when caught by a sudden freshening of the sea-breeze, 
he had waded up a shelving bank carrying her on his head 
and for two days they had rested together on the sand, 
while around them the shallow waters raged lividly, and 
across three miles of foam the brig would time after time 
dissolve in the mist and re-appear distinct, nodding her tall 
spars that seemed to touch a weeping sky of lamentable 

Whenever he came into the lagoon tugging with bare arms, 
Jorgenson, who would be watching the entrance of the creek 
ever since a muffled detonation of a gun to seaward had 
warned him of the brig's arrival on the Shore of Refuge, would 
mutter to himself — "Here's Tom coming in his nutshell." 
And indeed she was in shape somewhat like half a nutshell 
and also in the colour of her dark varnished planks. The 



man's shoulders and head rose high above her gunwales; 
loaded with Lingard's heavy frame she would cUmb sturdily 
the steep ridges, slide squatting into the hollows of the sea, 
or, now and then, take a sedate leap over a short wave. 
Her behaviour had a stout trustworthiness about it, and she 
reminded one of a sm-efooted mountain-pony carrying over 
difficult ground a rider much bigger than himself. 

Wasub wiped the thwarts, ranged the mast and sail along 
the side, shipped the rowlocks. Lingard looked down at his 
old servant's spare shoulders upon which the light from above 
fell unsteady but vivid. Wasub worked for the comfort 
of his commander and his single-minded absorption in that 
task flashed upon Lingard the consolation of an act of 
friendhness. The elderly Malay at last lifted his head with 
a deferential murmur; his wrinkled old face with half a 
dozen wiry hairs pendulous at each corner of the dark lips 
expressed a kind of weary satisfaction, and the sHghtly 
oblique worn eyes stole a discreet upward glance containing 
a hint of some remote meaning. Lingard found himself 
compelled by the justice of that obscure claim to murmur as 
he stepped into the boat : 

"These are times of danger." 

He sat down and took up the scuUs. Wasub held on to 
the gunwale as to a last hope of a further confidence. He had 
served in the brig five years. Lingard remembered that very 
well. This aged figure had been intimately associated with 
the brig's life and with his own, appearing silently ready for 
every incident and emergency in an unquestioning expecta- 
tion of orders; symboUc of bUnd trust in his strength, of an 
unhmited obedience to his will. Was it unlimited? 

"We shall require courage and fidelity," added Lingard, 
in a tentative tone. 

"There are those who know me," snapped the old man, 
readily, as if the words had been waiting for a long time. 
"Observe, Tuan. I have filled with fresh water the little 
breaker in the bows." 

"I know you, too," said Lingard. 

"And the wind — and the sea," ejaculated the serang. 


jerkily. "These also are faithful to the strong. By Allah! 
I who am a pilgrim and have listed to words of wisdom in 
many places, I tell you, Tuan, there is strength in the knowl- 
edge of what is hidden in things without life, as well as in the 
living men. Will Tuan be gone long? " 

"I come back in a short time — together with the rest of 
the whites from over there. This is the beginning of many 
stratagems. Wasub! Daman, the son of a dog, has sud- 
denly made prisoners two of my own people. My face is 
made black." 

"Tse! Tse! What ferocity is that! One should not 
offer shame to a friend or to a friend's brother lest revenge 
come sweeping like a flood. Yet can an lUanun chief be 
other than tyrannical? My old eyes have seen much but 
they never saw a tiger change its stripes. Ya-wa ! The 
tiger can not. This is the wisdom of us ignorant Malay men. 
The wisdom of white Tuans is great. They think that by 

the power of many speeches the tiger may " He broke 

off and in a crisp, busy tone said: "The rudder dwells safely 
under the aftermost seat should Tuan be pleased to sail the 
boat. This breeze will not die away before sunrise." Again 
his voice changed as if two different souls had been flit- 
ting in and out of his body. "No, no, kill the tiger and 
then the stripes may be counted without fear — one by one, 

He pointed a frail brown finger and, abruptly, made a 
mirthless dry sound as if a rattle had been sprung in his 

"The wretches are many," said Lingard. 

"Nay, Tuan. They follow their great men even as we in 
the brig follow you. That is right." 

Lingai-d reflected for a moment. 

"My men will follow me then," he said. 

"They are poor calashes without sense," commented 
Wasub with pitying superiority. "Some with no more 
comprehension than men of the bush freshly caught. There 
is Sali, the foolish son of my sister and by your great favour 
appointed to mind the tiller of this ship. His stupidity is 


extreme, but his eyes are good — nearly as good as mine that 
by praying and much exercise can see far into the night." 

Lingard laughed low and then looked earnestly at the 
serang. Above their heads a man shook a flare over the side 
and a thin shower of sparks floated downward and expired 
before touching the water. 

"So you can see in the night, O Serang ! Well, then, look 
and speak. Speak! Fight — or no fight? Weapons or 
words? Which folly? Well, what do you see? " 

"A darkness, a darkness," whispered Wasub at last in a 

frightened tone. "There are nights " He shook his 

head and muttered. "Look. The tide has turned. Ya, 
Tuan. The tide has turned." 

Lingard looked downward where the water could be seen, 
gliding past the ship's side, moving smoothly, streaked with 
lines of froth, across the illumined circle thrown round the 
brig by the lights on her poop. Air bubbles sparkled, lines 
of darkness, ripples of glitter, appeared, glided, went astern 
without a splash, without a trickle, without a plaint, without 
a break. The unchecked gentleness of the flow captured the 
eye by a subtle spell, fastened insidiously upon the mind a 
disturbing sense of the irretrievable. The ebbing of the sea 
athwart the lonely sheen of flames resembled the eternal ebb- 
tide of time; and when at last Lingard looked up, the knowl- 
edge of that noiseless passage of the waters produced on his 
mind a bewildering effect. For a moment the speck of light 
lost in vast obscurity, the brig, the boat, the hidden coast, 
the shallows, the very walls and roof of darkness — the seen 
and the unseen alike seemed to be gliding smoothly onward 
through the enormous gloom of space. Then, with a great 
mental effort, he brought everything to a sudden standstill; 
and only the froth and bubbles went on streaming past 
ceaselessly, unchecked by the power of his will. 

"The tide has turned — ^you say, Serang? Has it ? 

Well, perhaps it has, perhaps it has," he finished, muttering to 

"Truly it has. Can not Tuan see it run under his own 
eyes?" said Wasub with an alarmed earnestness. "Look. 

176 THE RESCUE ■: 

Now it is in my mind that a prau coming from anibngst the 
southern islands, if steered cunningly in the free set of the 
current, would approach the bows of this, our brig, drifting 
silently as a shape without a substance." 

"And board suddenly — is that it? " said Lingard. 

"Daman is crafty and the Illanuns are verj' bloodthirsty. 
Night is nothing to them. They are certainly valorous. 
Are they not bom in the midst of fighting and are they not 
inspired by the evil of their hearts even before they can speak? 
And their chiefs would be leading them while you, Tuan, are 
going from us even now " 

"You don't want me to go? " asked Lingard. 

For a time Wasub listened attentively to the profound 

"Can we fight without a leader?" he began again. "It is 
the belief in victory that gives coiu-age. And what would 
pKX)r calashes do, sons of p>easants and fishermen, freshly 
caught — without knowledge? They believe in yoiu- strength 
— and in your power — or else . . . wiU those whites that 
came so suddenly avenge you? They are here like fish 
within the stakes. Ya-wa ! Who will bring the news and 
who will come to find the truth and perchance to carry ofiE 
your body? You go alone, Tuan!" 

"There must be no fighting. It would be a calamity," in- 
sisted Lingard. "There is blood that must not be spilt." 

" Hear, Tuan ! " exclaimed Wasub with heat. "The waters 
are running out now." He punctuated his speech by slight 
jerks at the dinghy. "The waters go and at the appointed 
time they shall return. And if between their going and com- 
ing the blood of all the men in the world were poured into it, 
the sea would not rise higher at the full by the breadth of my 
finger nail." 

"But the world would not be the same. You do not see 
that, Serang. Give the boat a good shove." 

" Directly s" said the old Malay and his face became im- 
passive. "Tuan knows when it is best to go, and death 
sometimes retreats before a firm tread like a startled snake. 
Tuan should take a follower with him, not a silly youth, 


but one who has lived — ^who has a steady heart — ^who would 
walk close behmd watchfully— and quietly. Yes. Quietly 
and with quick eyes — ^like mine — ^perhaps with a weapon — 
I know how to strike." 

Lingard looked at the wrinkled visage very near his own 
and into the peering old eyes. They shone strangely. A 
tense eagerness was expressed in the squatting figure leaning 
out toward him. On the other side, within reach of his arm, 
the night stood like a wall — discouraging — opaque — impene- 
trable. No help would avail. The darkness he had to 
combat was too impalpable to be cleft by a blow — too dense 
to be pierced by the eye; yet as if by some enchantment in 
the words that made this vain ofiEer of fidelity, it became less 
overpowering to his sight, less crushing to his thought. 
He had a moment of pride which soothed his heart for the 
space of two beats. His unreasonable and misjudged heart, 
shrinking before the menace of failure, expanded freely with 
a sense of generous gratitude. In the threatening dimness 
of his emotions this man's offer made a point of clearness, 
the glimmer of a torch held aloft in the night. It was 
priceless, no doubt, but ineffectual; too small, too far, too 
soUtary. It did not dispel the mysterious obscurity that 
had descended upon his fortunes so that his eyes could no 
longer see the work of his hands. The sadness of defeat 
pervaded the world. 

"And what could you do, O! Wasub?" he said. 

"I could always call out — 'Take care, Tuan.'" 

"And then for these charm-words of mine. Hey? Turn 
danger aside? What? But perchance you would die all 
the same. Treachery is a strong magic, too — as you said." 

"Yes, indeed! The order might come to your servant. 
But I — Wasub — the son of a free man, a follower of Rajahs, a 
fugitive, a slave, a pilgrim — diver for pearls, serang of white 
men's ships, I have had too many masters. Too many. 
You are the last." After a silence he said, in an almost 
indifferent voice: "If you go, Tuan, let us go together." 

For a time Lingard made no sound. 

"No use," he said at last. "No use, Serang.' One hfe 


is enough to pay for a man's folly — and you have a house- 

" I have two — Tuan; but it is a long time since I sat on the 
ladder of a house to talk at ease with neighbours. Yes. 

Two households; one in " Lingard smiled faintly. 

"Tuan, let me follow you." 

"No. You have said it, serang — I am alone. That is 
true, and alone I shall go on this very night. But first I must 
bring all the white people here. Push." 

" Ready, Tuan ? Look out ! " 

Wasub's body swung over the sea with extended arms. 
Lingard caught up the sculls, and as the dinghy darted away 
from the brig's side he had a complete view of the Ughted 
poop. Shaw leaning massively over the taffrail in sulky de- 
jection, the flare-bearers erect and rigid, the heads along the 
rail, the eyes staring after him above the bulwarks. The 
fore-end of the brig was wrapped iu a lurid and sombre 
mistiness; the sullen mingling of darkness and of Ught; her 
masts pointing straight up could be tracked by torn gleams 
and vanished above as if the trucks had been tall enough 
to pierce the heavy mass of vapours motionless overhead. 
She was beautifully precious. His loving eyes saw her float- 
ing at rest in a wavering halo, between an invisible sky and 
an invisible sea, like a miraculous craft suspended in the 
air. He turned his head away as if the sight had been too 
much for him at the moment of separation, and, as soon as his 
little boat had passed beyond the limit of the light thrown 
upon the water, he perceived very low in the black void of 
the west the stern lantern of the yacht shining feebly like a 
star about to set, unattainable, infinitely remote — ^belonging 
to another universe. 


1INGAED brought Mrs. Travers away from the yacht, 
going alone with her in the little boat. During the 
-* bustle of the embarkment, and till the last of the crew 
had left the schooner, he had remained towering and silent by 
her side. It was only when the murmuring and uneasy voices 
of the sailors going away in the boats had been completely lost 
in the distance that his voice was heard, grave in the silence, 
pronouncing the words — "Follow me." She followed him; 
their footsteps rang hollow and loud on the empty deck. At 
the bottom of the steps he tm-ned round and said very low: 

"Take care." 

He got into the boat and held on. It seemed to him that 
she was intimidated by the darkness. She felt her arm 
gripped firmly — "I've got you," he said. She stepped in, 
headlong, trusting herself blindly to his grip and sank on the 
stern seat catching her breath a little. She heard a slight 
splash, and the indistinct side of the deserted yacht melted 
suddenly into the body of the night. 

Rowing, he faced her, a hooded and cloaked shape, and 
above her head he had before his eyes the gleam of the stern 
lantern expiring slowly on the abandoned vessel. When it 
went out without a warning flicker he could see nothing of 
the stranded yacht's outline. She had vanished utterly like 
a dream; and the occurrences of the last twenty -four hours 
seemed also to be a part of a vanished dream. The hooded 
and cloaked figure was part of it, too. It spoke not ; it moved 
not; it would vanish presently. Lingard tried to remember 
Mrs. Travers' features, even as she sat within two feet of 
him in the boat. He seemed to have taken from that van- 
ished schooner not a woman but a memory — the tormenting 
recollection of a human being he would see no more. 



At every stroke of the short sciills Mrs. Travers felt 
the boat leap forward with her. Lingard, to keep his direc- 
tion, had to look over his shoulder frequently — "You will 
be safe in the brig," he said. She was silent. A dream! 
A dream! He lay back vigorously; the water slapped loudly 
against the blunt bows. The ruddy glow thrown afar by the 
flares was reflected deep within the hood. The dream had a 
pale visage, the memory had Uving eyes. 

"I had to come for you myself," he said. 

"I expected it of you." These were the first words he 
had heard her say since they had met for the third time. 

" And I swore — before you, too — that I would never put my 
foot on board your craft." 

"It was good of you to " she began. 

"I forgot somehow," he said, simply. 

"I expected it of you," she rep)eated. He gave three quick 
strokes before he asked very gently : 

"What more do you expect?" 

"Everything," she said. He was rounding then the 
stern of the brig and had to look away. Then he turned to 

"And you trust me " he exclaimed. 

"I would like to trust you," she interrupted,"because " 

Above them a startled voice cried in Malay, "Captain 
coming." The strange sound silenced her. Lingard laid 
in his sculls and she saw herself gliding under the high 
side of the brig. A dark, staring face appeared very near 
her eyes, black fingers caught the gunwale of the boat. 
She stood up swaying. "Take care," said Lingard again, 
but this time, in the light, did not offer to help her. She 
went up alone and he followed her over the rail. 

The quarter-deck was thronged by men of two races. 
Lingard and Mrs. Travers crossed it rapidly between the 
groups that moved out of the way on their passage. Lingard 
threw open the cabin door for her, but remained on deck to , 
inquire about his boats. They had returned while he was on 
board the yacht, and the two men in charge of them came 
aft to make their reports. The boat sent north had seen 


nothing. The boat which had been directed to explore the 
banks and islets to the south had actually been in sight 
of Daman's praus. The man in charge reported that several 
fires were burning on the shore, the crews of the two praus 
being encamped on a sandbank. Cooking was going on. They 
had been near enough to hear the voices. There was a 
man keeping watch on the ridge; they knew this because 
they heard him shouting to the people below, by the 
fires. Lingard wanted to know how they had managed 
to remain unseen. "The night was our hiding place," 
answered the man in his deep growling voice. He knew 
nothing of any white men being in Daman's camp. Why 
should there be.'' Rajah Hassim and the lady, his sister, ap- 
peared unexpectedly near his boat in their canoe. Rajah 
Hassim had ordered him then in whispers to go back to the 
brig at once, and tell Tuan what he had observed. Rajah 
Hassim said also that he would return to the brig with more 
news very soon. He obeyed because the Rajah was to him a 
person of authority, "having the perfect knowledge of Tuan's 
mind as we all know." — "Enough," cried Lingard, suddenly. 
The man looked up heavily for a moment, and retreated 
forward without another word. Lingard followed him with 
irritated eyes. A new power had come into the world, had 
possessed itself of human speech, had imparted to it a sin- 
ister irony of allusion. To be told that someone had "a per- 
fect knowledge of his mind" startled him and made him 
wince. It made him aware that now he did not know his miud 
himself — that it seemed impossible for him ever to regain 
that knowledge. And the new power not only had cast its 
spell upon the words he had to hear, but also upon the facts 
that assailed him, upon the people he saw, upon the thoughts 
he had to guide, upon the feelings he had to bear. They re- 
mained what they had ever been — the visible surface of life 
open in the sun to the conquering tread of an unfettered will. 
Yesterday they could have been discerned clearly, mastered 
and despised; but now another power had come into the 
world, and had cast over them all the wavering gloom of a 
dark and inscrutable purpose. 


RECOVERING himself with a slight start Lingard gave 
the order to extinguish all the lights in the brig. Now 
the transfer of the crew from the yacht had been ef- 
fected there was every advantage in the darkness. He gave 
the order from instinct, it being the right thing to do in the cir- 
cumstances. His thoughts were in the cabin of his brig, 
where there was a woman waiting. He put his hand over 
his eyes, collecting himself as if before a great mental effort. 
He could hear about him the excited murmurs of the white 
men whom in the morning he had so ardently desired to 
have safe in his keeping. He had them there now; but acci- 
dent, ill-luck, a cursed folly, had tricked him out of the suc- 
cess of his plan. He would have to go in and talk to Mrs. 
Travers. He wished to go in. The idea dismayed him. Of 
necessity he was not one of those men who have the mastery 
of expression. To liberate his soul was for him a gigantic 
undertaking, a matter of desperate effort, of doubtful suc- 
cess. " I must have it out with her," he murmured to himself 
as though at the prospect of a struggle. He was uncertain | 
of himself, of her; he was uncertain of everything and every- ' 
body but he was very certain he wanted to look at her. i 

At the moment he turned to the door of the cabin both 
flares went out together and the black vault of the night 
upheld above the brig by the fierce flames fell behind him 
and buried the deck in sudden darkness. The buzz of 
strange voices instantly hummed louder with a startled note. 
"Haflo!"— "Can't see a mortal thing"— -"Well, what next?" 
— insisted a voice. "I want to know what next? " 

Lingard checked himself ready to open the door and waited, 
waited absurdly for the answer as though in the hope of 
some suggestion. "What's up with you? Think yourseK 



lucky," said somebody.— "It's all very well— for to-night," 
began the voice.— "What are you fashing yourself for.?" 
remonstrated the other, reasonably, "we'll get home right 

enough." — "I am not so sure; the second mate he says " 

"Never mind what he says; that 'ere man who has got 
this brig will see us through. The owner's wife will talk 
to him — she will. Money can do a lot." The two voices 
came nearer, and spoke more distinctly, close behind Lingard. 
"Suppose them blooming savages set fire to the yacht. 
What's to prevent them.?" — "And suppose they do. This 
'ere brig's good enough to get away in. Ain't she? Guns 
and all. We'll get home yet all right. What do you say, 

" I say nothing and care less," said a third voice, peaceful 
and faint. 

"D'you mean to say, John, you would go to the bottom 
as soon as you would go home? Come now!" — "To the 
bottom," repeated the wan voice, composedly, "Aye ! That's 
where we all are going to, in one way or another. The way 
don't matter." 

"Ough! You would give the blues to the funny man of a 
blooming circus. What would my missus say if I wasn't 
to turn up never at all?" — "She would get another man; 
there's always plenty of fools about." A quiet and mirthless 
chuckle was heard in the pause of shocked silence. Lingard, 
with his hand on the door, remained still. Further off a growl 
burst out: "I do hate to be chucked in the dark aboard a 
strange ship. I wonder where they keep their fresh water. 
Can't get any sense out of them silly niggers. We don't 
seem to be more account here than a lot of cattle. Likely 
as not we'll have to berth on this blooming quarter-deck for 
God knows how long." Then again very near Lingard the 
first voice said, deadened discreetly — "There's something 
curious about this here brig turning up sudden-like, ain't 
there? And that skipper of her — now? What kind of a man 
is he — anyhow?" 

"Oh, he's one of them skippers going about loose. The 
brig's his own, I am thinking. He just goes about in her 


looking for what he may pick up honest or dishonest. My 
brother-in-law has served two commissions in these seas, 
and was telling me awful yarns about what's going on in 
them God-forsaken parts. Likely he lied, though. Them 
man-of-war's men are a holy terror for yarns. Bless you, 
what do I care who this skipper is. Let him do his best and 
don't trouble your head. You won't see him again in your 
life once we get clear. " 

"And can he do anything for the owner?" asked the first 
voice again. — "Can he! Tie can do nothing — that's one 
thing certain. The owner may be lying clubbed to death 
this very minute for all we know. By all accounts these 
savages here are a crool murdering lot. Mind you, I am 
sorry for him as much as anybody." — "Aye, aye," muttered 
the other, approvingly. — "He may not have been ready, poor 
man," began again the reasonable voice. Lingard heard a 
deep sigh. — "If there's anything as can be done for him, 
the owner's wife she's got to fix it up with this 'ere skipper. 
Under Providence he may serve her turn." 

Lingard flung open the cabin door, entered, and, with a 
slam, shut the darkness out. 

"I am, under Providence, to serve your turn," he said 
after standing very still for a while, with his eyes upon 
Mrs. Travers. The brig's swing-lamp lighted the cabin with 
an extraordinary brilliance. Mrs. Travers had thrown back 
her hood. The radiant brightness of the little place enfolded 
her so close, clung to her with such force that it might have 
been part of her very essence. There were no shadows on 
her face; it was fiercely lighted, hermetically closed, of im- 
penetrable fairness. 

Lingard looked in unconscious ecstasy at this vision, so 
amazing that it seemed to have strayed into his existence 
from beyond the limits of the conceivable. It was impos- 
sible to guess her thoughts, to know her feelings, to under- 
stand her grief or her joy. But she knew all that was 
at the bottom of his heart. He had told her himself, im- 
pelled by a sudden thought, going to her in darkness, in 
desperation, in absurd hope, in incredible trust. He had told 


her what he had told no one on earth, except perhaps, at 
times, himself, but without words — less clearly. He had 
told her and she had listened in silence. She had listened 
leaning over the rail till at last her breath was on his fore- 
head. He remembered this and had a moment of soaring 
pride and of unutterable dismay. He spoke, with an effort. 

"You've heard what I said just now.'' Here I am." 

"Do you expect me to say something.?" she asked. "Is it 
necessary? Is it possible?" 

"No," he answered. "It is said already. I know what 
you expect from me. I know. Everything." 

"Everything," she repeated, paused, and added much 
lower, "It is the very least." He seemed to lose himself in 

"It is extraordinary," he reflected half aloud, "how I dis- 
like that man." She leaned forward a little. 

"Remember those two men are innocent," she began. 

"So am I — innocent. So is everybody in the world. 
Have you ever met a man or a woman that was not? They've 
got to take their chances all the same." 

"I expect you to be generous," she said. 

"To you?" 

"Well — to me. Yes, if you like — to me alone." 

"To you alone! And you know everything!" His 
voice dropped. "You want your happiness." 

She made an impatient movement and he saw her clench 
the hand that was lying on the table. 

"I want my husband back," she said, sharply. 

"Yes. Yes. It's what I was saying. Same thing," 
he muttered with strange placidity. She looked at him 
searchingly. He had a large simplicity that filled one's 
vision. She found herself slowly invaded by this masterful 
figure. He was not mediocre. Whatever he might have 
been he was not mediocre. The glamour of a lawless life 
stretched over him like the sky over the sea down on all 
sides to an unbroken horizon. Within, he moved very lonely, 
dangerous and romantic. There was in him crime, sacrifice, 
tenderness, devotion, and the madness of a fixed idea. She 


thought with wonder that of all the men in the world he was 
indeed the one she knew the best and yet she could not fore- 
see the speech or the act of the next minute. She said dis- 

"You've given me your confidence. Now I want you to 
give me the life of these two men. The life of two men whom 
you do not know, whom to-morrow you will forget. It can 
be done. It must be done. You cannot refuse them to me." 
She waited. 

"Why can't I refuse?" he whispered, gloomily, without 
looking up. 

" You ask ! " she exclaimed. He made no sign. He seemed 
at a loss for words. 

"You ask . . . Ah!" she cried. "Don't you see that 
I have no kingdoms to conquer?" 


A SLIGHT change of expression which passed away al- 
most directly showed that Lingard had heard the 
passionate cry wrung from her by the distress of her 
mind. He made no sign. She perceived clearly the extreme 
difficulty of her position. The situation was dangerous; not 
so much the facts of it as the feehng of it. At times it ap- 
peared no more actual than a tradition; and she thought of 
herself as of some woman in a ballad, who has to beg for the 
lives of innocent captives. To save the lives of Mr. Travers 
and Mr. d'Alcacer was more than a duty. It was a neces- 
sity, it was an imperative need, it was an irresistible mission. 
Yet she had to reflect upon the horrors of a cruel and ob- 
scure death before she could feel for them the pity they de- 
served. It was when she looked at Lingard that her heart 
was wrung by an extremity of compassion. The others were 
pitiful, but he, the victim of his own extravagant impulses, 
appeared tragic, fascinating and culpable. Lingard lifted 
his head. Whispers were heard at the door and Hassim 
followed by Immada entered the cabin. 

Mrs. Travers looked at Lingard, because of all the faces 
in the cabin his was the only one that was intelUgible to her. 
Hassim began to speak at once, and when he ceased Immada's 
deep sigh was heard in the sudden silence. Then Lingard 
looked at Mrs. Travers and said: 

"The gentlemen are alive. Rajah Hassim here has seen 
them less than two hours ago, and so has the girl. They are 
alive and unharmed, so far. And now. . . ." 

He paused. Mrs. Travers, leaning on her elbow, shaded 
her eyes under the glint of suspended thunderbolts. 

"You must hate us," she murmured. 

"Hate you," he repeated with, as she fancied, a tinge of 
disdain in his tone. "No. I hate myself." 



"Why yourself?" she asked, very low. 

"For not knowing my mind," he answered. "For not 
knowing my mind. For not knowing what it is that's got 
hold of me since — since this morning. I was angry then. 
. . . Nothing but very angry. . . ." 

"And now?" she murmured. 

"I am . . . unhappy," he said. After a moment of 
silence which gave to Mrs. Travers the time to wonder how it 
was that this man had succeeded in penetrating into the very 
depths of her compassion, he hit the table such a blow that 
all the heavy muskets seemed to jump a little. 

Mrs. Travers heard Hassim pronounce a few words 
earnestly, and a moan of distress from Immada. 

" I believed in you before you . . . before you gavs me 
your confidence," she began. "You could see that. Could 
you not?" 

He looked at her fixedly. "You are not the first that 
believed in me," he said. 

Hassim, lounging with his back against the closed door, 
kept his eye on him watchfully and Immada's dark and sor- 
rowful eyes rested on the face of the white woman. Mrs. 
Travers felt as though she were engaged in a contest with 
them; in a struggle for the possession of that man's strength 
and of that man's devotion. When she looked up at Lingard 
she saw on his face which should have been impassive or 
exalted, the face of a stern leader or the face of a pitiless 
dreamer, an expression of utter forgetfulness. He seemed 
to be tasting the delight of some profound and amazing sen- 
sation. And suddenly in the midst of her appeal to his gen- 
erosity, in the middle of a phrase, Mrs. Travers faltered, 
becoming aware tliat she was the object of his contemplation. 

"Do not! Do not look at that woman!" cried Immada. 
"O! Master — look away. ." Hassim threw one arm 

round the girl's neck. Her voice sank. "O! Master — look 
at us." Hassim, drawing her to himself, covered her lips with 
his hand. She struggled a little like a snared bird and sub- 
mitted, hiding her face on his shoulder, very quiet, sobbing 
without noise. 


"What do they say to you?" asked Mrs. Travers with a 
faint and pained smile. "What can they say? It is intoler- 
able to think that their words which have no meaning for me 
may go straight to your heart. . . . " 

"Look away," whispered Lingard without making the 
slightest movement. 

Mrs. Travers sighed. 

"Yes, it is very hard to think that I who want to touch 
you cannot make myself understood as well as they. And 
yet I speak the language of your childhood, the language 
of the man for whom there is no hope but in your gen- 

He shook his head. She gazed at him anxiously for a 
moment. "In your memories then," she said and was sur- 
prised by the expression of profound sadness that over- 
spread his attentive face. 

"Do you know what I remember," he said. "Do you 
want to know?" She listened with slightly parted lips. 
"I will tell you. Poverty, hard work — and death," he went 
on, very quietly. "And now I've told you, and you don't 
know. That's how it is between us. You talk to me — I 
talk to you — and we don't know." 

Her eyelids dropped. 

"Then— what can I find to say?" she went on. "What 
can I do? I mustn't give in. Think! Amongst your mem- 
ories there must be some face, some voice, some name, if 
nothing more. I can not believe that there is nothing but 

"There's no bitterness," he murmured. 

"O! Brother, my heart is faint with fear," whispered 
Immada. Lingard turned swiftly to that whisper. 

"Then, they are to be saved," exclaimed Mrs. Travers. 
"Ah, I knew. ..." 

"Bear thy fear in patience," said Hassim, rapidly, to 
his sister. 

"They are to be saved. You have said it," Lingard pro- 
nounced aloud, suddenly. He felt like a swimmer who, iu 
the midst of superhuman efforts to reach the shore, perceives 


that the undertow is taking him to sea. He would go with 
the mysterious current; he would go swiftly — and see the end, 
the fulfilment both blissful and terrible. 

With this state of exaltation in which he saw himself in 
some incomprehensible way always victorious, whatever 
might befall, there was mingled a tenacity of purpose. He 
could not sacrifice his intention, the intention of years, the 
intention of his life; he could no more part with it and exist 
than he could cut out his heart and live. The adventurer 
held fast to his adventure which made him in his own sight 
exactly what he was. 

He considered the problem with cool audacity, backed by 
a belief in his own power. It was not these two men he had 
to save; he had to save himself! And looked upon in this 
way the situation appeared familiar. 

Hassim had told him the two white men had been taken 
by their captors to Daman's camp. The young Rajah, 
leaving his sister in the canoe, had landed on the sand and 
had crept to the very edge of light thrown by the fires by 
which the Illanuns were cooking. Daman was sitting 
apart by a larger blaze. The praus rode in shallow 
water near the sandbank; on the ridge, a sentry walked 
watching the lights of the brig; the camp was fuU of 
quiet whispers. Hassim returned to his canoe, then he and 
his sister, paddling cautiously round the anchored praus, in 
which women's voices could be heard, approached the other 
end of the camp. The light of the big blaze there fell on the 
water and the canoe skirted it without a splash, keeping 
in the night. Hassim landing for the second time crept 
again close to the fires. Each prau had, according to the 
customs of the Illanun rovers when on a raiding expedition, 
a smaller war-boat and these being light and manageable 
were hauled up on the sand not far from the big blaze; 
they sat high on the shelving shore throwing heavy shadows. 
Hassim crept up towards the largest of them and then stand- 
ing on tiptoe could look at the camp across the gunwales. 
The confused talking of the men was like the buzz of insects 
in a forest. A child wailed on board one of the praus and a 


woman hailed the shore shrilly. Hassim unsheathed his 
kris and held it in his hand. 

Very soon — ^he said — he saw the two white men walking 
amongst the fires. They waved their arms and talked to- 
gether, stopping from time to time; they approached Daman; 
and the short man with the hair on his face addressed him 
earnestly and at great length. Daman sat crosslegged upon 
a little carpet with an open Koran on his knees and chanted 
the verses, swaying to and fro with his eyes shut. 

The lUanun chiefs , reclining wrapped in cloaks on the ground , 
raised themselves on their elbows to look at the whites. When 
the short white man finished speaking he gazed down at 
them for a while, then stamped his foot. He looked angry 
because no one understood him. Then suddenly he looked 
very sad; he covered his face with his hands; the tall man 
put his hand on the short man's shoulder and whis- 
pered into his ear. The dry wood of the fires crackled, 
the lUanuns slept, cooked, talked, but with their weap- 
ons at hand. An armed man or two came up to stare 
at the prisoners and then returned to their fire. The two 
whites sank down in the sand before Daman. Their 
clothes were soiled, there was sand in their hair. The 
tall man had lost his hat; the glass in the eye of the short 
man glittered very much; his back was muddy and one 
sleeve of his coat torn up to the elbow. 

All this Hassim saw and then retreated undetected to that 
part of the shore where Immada waited for him, keeping 
the canoe afloat. The Illanuns, trusting to the sea, kept very 
bad watch on their prisoners, and had he been able to speak 
with them Hassim thought an escape could have been effected. 
But they could not have understood his signs and still less 
his words. He consulted with his sister. Immada murmured 
sadly; at their feet the ripple broke with a mournful sound 
no louder than their voices. 

Hassim's loyalty was unshaken, but now it led him 
on not in the bright light of hopes but in the deepened 
shadow of doubt. He wanted to obtain information 
for his friend who was so powerful and who perhaps 


would know how to be constant. When followed by Im- 
mada he approached the camp again — this time openly — 
their appearance did not excite much surprise. It was well 
known to the Chiefs of the Illanuns that the Rajah for whom 
they were to fight — if God so willed — was upon the shoals 
looking out for the coming of the white man who had much 
wealth and a store of weapons and who was his servant. 
Daman, who alone understood the exact relation, welcomed 
them with impenetrable gravity. Hassim took his seat on the 
carpet at his right hand. A consultation was being held half- 
aloud in short and apparently careless sentences, with long 
intervals of silence between. Immada, nestling close to her 
brother, leaned one arm on his shoulder and listened with 
serious attention and with outward calm as became a princess 
of Wajo accustomed to consort with warriors and statesmen 
in moments of danger and in the hours of deliberation. Her 
heart was beating rapidly, and facing her the silent 
white men stared at these two known faces, as if across 
a gulf. Four lUanun chiefs sat in a row. Their ample 
cloaks fell from their shoulders, and lay behind them 
on the sand in which their four long lances were planted 
upright, each supporting a small oblong shield of wood, 
carved on the edges and stained a dull purple. Daman 
stretched out his arm and pointed at the prisoners. The 
faces of the white men were very quiet. Daman looked at 
them mutely and ardently, as if consumed by an imspeakable 

The Koran, in a silk cover, hung on his breast by a crimson 
cord. It rested over his heart and, just below, the plain 
bu£falo-horn handle of a kris, stuck into tlie twist of his 
sarong, protruded ready to his hand. The clouds thickening 
over the camp made the darkness press hea^dly on the glow 
of scattered fires. "There is blood between me and the 
whites," he pronounced, violently. The Illanun chiefs re- 
mained impassive. There was blood between them and all 
mankind. Hassim remarked dispassionately that there was 
one white man with whom it would be wise to remain 
friendly; and besides, was not Daman his friend already. 


Daman smiled with half-closed eyes. He was that white 
man's friend, not his slave. The lUanuns playing with their 
sword-handles grunted assent. Why, asked Daman, did 
these strange whites travel so far from their country? The 
great white man whom they all knew did not want 
them. No one wanted them. Evil would follow in their 
footsteps. They were such men as are sent by rulers to 
examine the aspects of far-off countries and talk of peace 
and make treaties. Such is the beginning of great sor- 
rows. The Illanuns were far from their country, where no 
white man dared to come, and therefore they were free to 
seek their enemies upon the open waters. They had found 
these two who had come to see. He asked what they had 
come to see? Was there nothing to look at in their own 

He talked in an ironic and subdued tone. The scattered 
heaps of embers glowed a deeper red; the big blaze of the 
Chief's fire sank low and grew dim before he ceased. Straight- 
limbed figures rose, sank, moved, whispered on the beach. 
Here and there a spear-blade caught a red gleam above 
the black shape of a head. 

"The Illanuns seek booty on the sea," cried Daman. 
"Their fathers and the fathers of their fathers have done the 
same, being fearless like those who embrace death closely." 

A low laugh was heard. "We strike and go," said an 
exulting voice. "We live and die with our weapons in our 
hands." The Illanuns leaped to their feet. They stamped 
on the sand, flourishing naked blades over the heads of their 
prisoners. A tumult arose. 

When it subsided Daman stood up in a cloak that wrapped 
him to his feet and spoke again giving advice. The white 
men sat on the sand and turned their eyes from face to face 
as if trying to understand. It was agreed to send the pris- 
oners into the lagoon where their fate would be decided by 
the ruler of the land. The Illanuns only wanted to plunder 
the ship. They did not care what became of the men. "But 
Daman cares," remarked Hassim to Lingard, when relating 
what took place. "He cares O! Tuan." 


Hassim had learned also that the Settlement was in a state of 
unrest as if on the eve of war. Belarab with his followers 
was encamped by his father's tomb in the hollow beyond the 
cultivated fields. His stockade was shut up and no one 
appeared on the verandahs of the houses within. You 
could tell there were people inside only by the smoke of the 
cooking fires. Tengga's followers meantime swaggered about 
the Settlement behaving tyrannically to those who were 
peaceable. A great madness had descended upon the people, 
a madness strong as the madness of love, the madness of bat- 
tle, the desire to spill blood. A strange fear also had made 
them wild. The big smoke seen that morning above the 
forests of the coast was some agreed signal from Tengga to 
Daman but what it meant Hassim had been unable to find 
out. He feared for Jorgenson's safety. He said that while 
one of the war-boats was being made ready to take the 
captives into the lagoon, he and his sister left the camp 
quietly and got away in their canoe. The flares on the brig, 
reflected in a faint loom upon the clouds, enabled them to 
make straight for the vessel across the banks. Before they 
had gone half way these flames went out and the darkness 
seemed denser than any he had known before. But it was 
no greater than the darkness of his mind — he added. He 
had looked upon the white men sitting unmoved and silent 
under the edge of swords; he had looked at Daman, he had 
heard bitter words spoken; he was looking now at his white 
friend — and the issue of events he could not see. One can 
see men's faces but their fate, which is written on their fore- 
heads, one cannot see. He had no more to say and what he 
had spoken was true in every word. 


tlNGARD repeated it all to Mrs. Travers. Her cour- 
age, her intelligence, the quickness of her apprehen- 
■« sion, the colour of her eyes and the intrepidity of her 
glance evoked in him an admiring enthusiasm. She stood 
by his side! Every moment that fatal illusion clung closer 
to his soul — ^like a garment of light — like an armour of fire. 

He was unwilling to face the facts. All his life — till 
that day — had been a wrestle with events in the daylight of 
this world, but now he could not bring his mind to the con- 
sideration of his position. It was Mrs. Travers who, after 
waiting awhile, forced on him the pain of thought by want- 
ing to know what bearing Hassim's news had upon the 

Lingard had not the slightest doubt Daman wanted him to 
know what had been done with the prisoners. That is why 
Daman had welcomed Hassim, and let him hear the decision 
and had allowed him to leave the camp on the sandbank. 
There could be only one object in this: to let him, Lingard, 
know that the prisoners had been put out of his reach as long 
as he remained in his brig. Now this brig was his strength. 
To make him leave his brig was like removing his hand from 
his sword. 

"Do you understand what I mean, Mrs. Travers?" he 
asked. "They are afraid of me because I know how to 
fight this brig. They fear the brig because when I am on 
board her, the brig and I are one. An armed man — don't 
you see? Without the brig I am disarmed, without me she 
can't strike. So Daman thinks. He does not know every- 
thing but he is not far off the truth. He says to himself that 
if I man the boats to go after these whites into the lagoon 
then his Illanuns will get the yacht for sure — and perhaps 



the brig as well. If I stop here with my brig he holds the 
two white men and can talk as big as he pleases. Belarab 
believes in me no doubt, but Daman trusts no man on earth. 
He simply does not know how to trust any one, because 
he is always plotting himself. He came to help me and as 
soon as he found I was not there he began to plot with 
Tengga. Now he has made a move — a clever move; a 
cleverer move than he thinks. Why? I'll tell you why. 
Because I, Tom Lingard, haven't a single white man aboard 
this brig I can trust. Not one. I only just discovered my 
mate's got the notion I am some kind of pirate. And all 
your yacht people think the same. It is as though you 
had brought a curse on me in your yacht. Nobody believes 
me. Good God! What have I come to! Even those 
two — look at them — I say look at them! By all the stars 
they doubt me! Me! . . ." 

He pointed at Hassim and Immada. The girl seemed 
frightened. Hassim looked on calm and intelligent with 
inexhaustible patience. Lingard's voice fell suddenly. 

"And by heavens they may be right. Who knows? You? 
Do you know? They have waited for years. Look. They 
are waiting with heavy hearts. Do you think that I don't 
care? Ought I to have kept it all in — told no one — no one 
— not even you? Are they waiting for what wiU never come 

Mrs. Travers rose and moved quickly roimd the table. 
" Can we give anything to this — this Daman — or these other 
men? We could give them more than they could think of 
asking. I — my husband. . . ." 

"Don't talk to me of your husband," he said, roughly. 
"You don't know what you are doing." She confronted the 
sombre anger of his eyes, — "But I must," she asserted with 
heat. — "Must," he mused, noticing that she was only half 
a head less tall than himself. "Must! Oh, yes. Of course, 
you must. Must! Yes. But I don't want to hear. Give! 
What can you give? You may have all the treasures of the 
world for all I know. No! You can't give anything. . . " 

"I was thinking of your difficulty when I spoke," she in- 


terrupted. His eyes wandered downward following the line 
of her shoulder. — "Of me — of me!" he repeated. 

All this was said almost in whispers. The sound of slow 
footsteps was heard on deck above their heads. Lingard 
turned his face to the open skylight. 

" On deck there ! Any wind ? " 

All was still for a moment. Somebody above answered in 
a leisurely tone: 

"A steady little draught from the northward." 

Then after a pause added in a mutter : 

"Pitch dark." 

"Aye, dark enough," murmured Lingard. He must do 
something. Now. At once. The world was waiting. The 
world full of hopes and fear. What should he do.!* Instead 
of answering that question he traced the ungleaming coils of 
her twisted hair and became fascinated by a stray lock at her 
neck. What should he do? No one to leave his brig to. 
The voice that had answered his question was Carter's voice. 
"He is hanging about keeping his eye on me," he said to 
Mrs. Travers. She shook her head and tried to smile. The 
man above coughed discreetly. "No," said Lingard, "you 
must understand that you have nothing to give." The man 
on deck who seemed to have lingered by the skylight 
was heard saying quietly, "I am at hand if you want me, 
Mrs. Travers." Hassim and Immada looked up. "You 
see," exclaimed Lingard. " What did I tell you.'' He's keep- 
ing his eye on me ! On board my own ship . Am I dreaming? 
Am I in a fever? Tell him to come down, " he said after a 
pause. Mrs. Travers did so and Lingard thought her voice 
very commanding and very sweet. "There's nothing in the 
world I love so much as this brig," he went on. "Nothing 
in the world. If I lost her I would have no standing room on 
the earth for my feet. Youdon'timderstandthis. You can't." 

Carter came in and shut the cabin door carefully. He 
looked with serenity at everyone in turn. 

"All quiet?" asked Lingard. 

"Quiet enough if you like to call it so, " he answered. " But 
if you only put your head outside the door you'll hear them 


all on the quarter-deck snoring against each other, as if there 
were no wives at home and no pirates at sea." 

"Look here," said Lingard. "I found out that I can't 
trust my mate." 

"Can't you," drawled Carter. " I am not exactly 
surprised. I must say he does not snore but I believe 
it is because he is too crazy to sleep. He waylaid me on 
the poop just now and said something about evil com- 
munications corrupting good manners. Seems to me 
I've heard that before. Queer thing to say. He tried to 
make it out somehow that if he wasn't corrupt it wasn't 
your fault. As if this was any concern of mine. He's as 
mad as he's fat — or else he puts it on." Carter laughed a 
little and leaned his shoulders against a bulkhead. 

Lingard gazed at "the woman who expected so much 
from him and in the light she seemed to shed he saw 
himself leading a column of armed boats to the attack of the 
Settlement. He could burn the whole place to the ground 
and drive every soul of them into the bush. He could! 
And there was a surprise, a shock, a vague horror at 
the thought of the destructive power of his will. He could 
give her ever so many lives. He had seen her yesterday, and 
it seemed to him he had been all his life waiting for her to 
make a sign. She was very still. He pondered a plan of 
attack. He saw smoke and flame — and next moment he 
saw himself alone amongst shapeless ruins with the whispers, 
with the sigh and moan of the shallows in his ears. He 
shuddered and shook his head: 

" No ! I cannot give you all those lives ! " he cried. 

Then, before Mrs. Travers could guess the meaning of this 
outburst, he declared that as the two captives must be saved 
he would go alone into the lagoon. He could not think of using 
force. "You understand why," he said to Mrs. Travers and 
she whispered a faint "Yes." He would run the risk alone. 
His hope was in Belarab being able to see where his true in- 
terest lay. " If I can only get at him I would soon make him 
see," he mused aloud. "Haven't I kept his power up for these 
two years past? And he knows it, too. He feels it." Whether 


he would be allowed to reach Belarab was another matter. 
Lingard lost himself in deep thought. " He would not dare !" 
he burst out. Mrs. Travers listened with parted lips. 
Carter did not move a muscle of his youthful and self-pos- 
sessed face; only when Lingard, turning suddenly, came up 
close to him and asked with a red flash of eyes and in a 
lowered voice "Could you fight this brig?" something 
like a smile made a stir amongst the hairs of his httle fair 

"Could I?" he said. "I could try, anyhow." Hepaused, 
and added hardly above his breath, "For the lady — of 

Lingard seemed staggered as though he had been hit in 
the chest. "I was thinking of the brig, " he said, gently. 

"Mrs. Travers would be on board," retorted Carter. 

"What! on board. Ah, yes; on board. Where else?" 
stammered Lingard. 

Carter looked at him in amazement. " Fight ! You ask ! " 
he said, slowly. "You just try me!" 

" I shall," ejaculated Lingard. He left the cabin 
calling out "Serang!" A thin cracked voice was heard im- 
mediately answering "Tuan!" and the door slammed to. 

"You trust him, Mrs. Travers?" asked Carter, rapidly. 

"You do not — ^why?" she answered. 

"I can't make him out. If he was another kind of man 
I would say he was drunk, " said Carter. "Why is he here at 
all — ^he, and this brig of his? Excuse my boldness — but 
have you promised him anything?" 

"I — I promised!" exclaimed Mrs. Travers in a bitter tone 
which silenced Carter for a moment. 

"So much the better," he said at last. "Let him show 
what he can do first and . . ." 

"Here! Take this," said Lingard who re-entered the 
cabin fumbling about his neck. Carter mechanically ex- 
tended his hand. 

"What's this for?" he asked, looking at a small brass key 
attached to a thin chain. 

"Powder magazine. Trap door under the table. The 


man who has this key commands the brig while I am away. 
The serang understands. You have her very life ia your 
hand there." 

Carter looked at the small key lying in his half -open palm. 

"I was just telling Mrs. Travers I didn't trust you — 
not altogether. . . ." 

"I knowall about it," interrupted Lingard, contemptuously. 
"You carry a blamed pistol in your pocket to blow my 
brains out — don't you? What's that to me? I am thioking 
of the brig. I think I know your sort. You will do." 

"Well, perhaps I might," mumbled Carter, modestly. 

"Don't be rash," said Lingard, anxiously. "If you've got 
to fight use your head as well as your hands. If there's a 
breeze fight under way. If they should try to board 
in a calm, trust to the small arms to hold them off. 

Keep your head and " He looked intensely into 

Carter's eyes; his lips worked without a soimd as though 
he had been suddenly struck dumb. "Don't think 
about me. What's that to you who I am? Think 
of the ship," he burst out. "Don't let her go! — Don't 
let her go!" The passion in his voice impressed his hearers 
who for a time preserved a profound silence. 

"All right," said Carter at last. "I will stick to your 
brig as though she were my own; but I would like to see clear 
through all this. Look here — you are going off somewhere? 
Alone, you said? " 

"Yes. Alone." 

"Very well. Mind, then, that you don't come back with a 
crowd of those brown friends of yours — or by the Heavens 
above us I won't let you come within hail of your own ship. 
Am I to keep this key?" 

"Captain Lingard," said Mrs. Travers suddenly. "Would 
it not be better to tell him everything?" 

"Tell him everything?" repeated Lingard. "Everything! 
Yesterday it might have been done. Only yesterday! 
Yesterday, did I say? Only six hours ago — only six hours 
ago I had something to tell. You heard it. And now it's 
gone. Tell him! There's nothing to tell any more." He 


remained for a time with bowed head, while before him Mrs. 
Travers, who had begmi a gesture of protest, dropped her 
arms suddenly. In a moment he looked up again. 

" Keep the key," he said, calmly, "and when the time comes 
step forward and take charge. I am satisfied." 

"I would like to see clear through all this though," mut- 
tered Carter again. "And for how long are you leaving us, 
Captain?" Lingard made no answer. Carter waited awhile. 
"Come, sir," he urged. "I ought to have some notion. 
What is it? Two, three days?" Lingard started. 

"Days," he repeated. "Ah, days. What is it you want 
to know? Two . . . three — what did the old fellow 
say — ^perhaps for life." This was spoken so low that no 
one but Carter heard the last words. — "Do you mean it?" 
he murmured. Lingard nodded. — "Wait as long as you can 
— then go," he said in the same hardly audible voice — "Go 
where?" — "Where you like, nearest port, any port." — "Very 
good. That's something plain at any rate," commented 
the young man with impertiu'bable good humour. 

"I go O! Hassim," began Lingard and the Malay made a 
slow inclination of the head which he did not raise again till 
Lingard had ceased speaking. He betrayed neither surprise 
nor any other emotion while Lingard in a few concise and 
sharp sentences made him acquainted with his purpose to 
bring about single-handed the release of the prisoners. When 
Lingard had ended with the words: "And you must find 
a way to help me in the time of trouble O! Rajah Hassim!" 
he looked up and said, 

"Good. You never asked me for anything before." He 
smiled at his white friend. There was something subtle 
in the smile and afterwards an added firmness in the repose 
of the lips. Immada moved a step forward. She looked 
at Lingard with terror in her black and dilated eyes. She ex- 
claimed in a voice whose vibration startled the hearts of all 
the hearers with an indefinable sense of alarm: "He will 
perish, Hassim! He will perish alone!" 

"No," said Hassim. "Thy fear is as vain to-night as 
it was at sunrise. He shall not perish alone." 


Her eyelids dropped slowly. From her veiled eyes the 
tears fell, vanishing in the silence. Lingard's forehead 
became furrowed by folds that seemed to contain an infinity 
of sombre thoughts. "Remember O! Hassim, that when 
I promised you to take you back to your country you prom- 
ised me to be a friend to all white men. A friend to all 
whites who are of my people, forever." 

"My memory is good, O! Tuan," said Hassim, "I am not 
yet back in my country, but is not everyone the ruler of 
his own heart? Promises made by a man of noble birth live 
as long as the speaker endures." 

"Good-bye," said Lingard to Mrs. Travers. "You will be 
safe here." He looked all around the cabin. " I leave you," 
he began again and stopped short. Mrs. Travers' hand, 
resting lightly on the edge of the table, began to tremble. 
" It's for you . . . Yes. For you alone . . . and 
it seems it can't be. . . ." 

It seemed to him that he was saying good-bye to all the 
world, that he was taking a last leave of his own self. Mrs. 
Travers did not say a word, but Immada threw herself be- 
tween them and cried : 

"You are a cruel woman! You are driving him away 
from where his strength is. You put madness into his heart, 
O! Blind — without pity — without shame! . . ." 

"Immada," said Hassim's calm voice. Nobody moved. 

"What did she say to me?" faltered Mrs. Travers and again 
repeated in a voice that sounded hard. " What did she say ? " 

"Forgive her," said Lingard. "Forgive her. Her fears 
are for me . . ." — "It's about your going?" Mrs. Travers 
interrupted, swiftly. 

"Yes, it is — and you must forgive her." He had turned 
away his eyes with something that resembled embarrassment 
but suddenly he was assailed by an irresistible longing to 
look again at that woman. At the moment of parting he 
clung to her with his glance as a man holds with his hands 
a priceless and disputed possession. The faint blush that 
overspread gradually Mrs. Travers' features gave her face an 
air of extraordinary and startling animation. 


"The danger you run?" she asked, eagerly. He repelled 
the suggestion by a slighting gesture of the hand. — "Nothing 
worth looking at twice. Don't give it a thought," he 
said. "I've been in tighter places." He clapped his hands 
and waited till he heard the cabin door open behind 
his back. "Steward, my pistols." The mulatto in slippers, 
aproned to the chin, glided through the cabin with imseeing 
eyes as though for him no one there had existed. . . . 
— "Is it my heart that aches so? " Mrs. Travers asked herseK, 
contemplating Lingard's motionless figure. "How long will 
this sensation of dull pain last? Will it last forever. . . ." 
— "How many changes of clothes shall I put up, sir?" asked 
the steward, while Lingard took the pistols from him and 
eased the hammers after putting on fresh caps. — "I will take 
nothing tliis time, steward." He received in turn from the 
mulatto's hands a red silk handkerchief, a pocket book, a 
cigar-case. He knotted the handkerchief loosely round his 
throat; it was evident he was going through the routine of 
every departure for the shore; he even opened the cigar-case 
to see whether it had been filled. — "Hat, sir," murmured the 
half-caste. Lingard flimg it on his head. — "Take your orders 
from this lady, steward — till I come back. The cabin is hers 
— do you hear? " He sighed ready to go and seemed unable to 
lift a foot. — "I am coming with you," declared Mrs. Travers 
suddenly in a tone of unalterable decision. He did not look 
at her; he did not even look up; he said nothing, till after 
Carter had cried — "You can't, Mrs. Travers !' ' — when without 
budging he whispered to himself: — "Of course." Mrs. 
Travers had pulled already the hood of her cloak over her 
head and her face within the dark cloth had turned an intense 
and unearthly white, in which the violet of her eyes appeared 
imfathomably mysterious. Carter started forward. — "You 
don't know this man," he almost shouted. 

"I do know him," she said, and before the reproachfully 
unbelieving attitude of the other she added, speaking slowly 
and with emphasis, "There is not, I verily believe, a single 
thought or act of his life that I don't know." — "It's true — 
it's true," muttered Lingard to himself. Carter threw up his 


arms with a groan. " Stand back," said a voice that sounded 
to him like a growl of thunder, and he felt a grip on his hand 
which seemed to crush every bone. He jerked it away.— 
"Mrs. Travers! stay," he cried. They had vanished 
through the open door and the sound of their footsteps had 
already died away. Carter turned about bewildered as if 
looking for help. "Who is he, steward? Who in the name 
of all the mad devils is he?" he asked, wildly. He was con- 
founded by the cold and philosophical tone of the answer: 
— "T'aint my place to trouble about that, sir — nor yoms I 
guess." — " Isn't it ! " shouted Carter. "Why, he has carried the 
lady off." The steward was looking critically at the lamp and 
after a while screwed the light down. — "That's better," he 
mumbled. — "Good God! What is a fellow to do?" con- 
tinued Carter, looking at Hassim and Immada who were 
whispering together and gave him only an absent glance. 
He rushed on deck and was struck blind instantly by the 
night that seemed to have been lying in wait for him; he 
stumbled over something soft, kicked something hard, flung 
himself on the rail. "Come back," he cried. "Come back, 
Captain! Mrs. Travers! or let me come, too!" 

He listened. The breeze blew cool against his cheek. A 
black bandage seemed to lie over his eyes. "Gone," he 
groaned, utterly crushed. And suddenly heard Mrs. Travers' 
voice remote in the depths of the night. — " Defend the brig," 
it said, and these words, pronoimcing themselves in the im- 
mensity of a lightless universe, thrilled every fibre of his body 
by the commanding sadness of their tone. "Defend, defend 
the brig." . . . " I am damned if I do," shouted Carter 
in despair. "Unless you come back ! . . . Mrs. Travers!" 

" ... as though-^I were — on board — myself," went 
on the rising cadence of the voice, more distant now, a marvel 
of faint and imperious clearness. 

Carter shouted no more; he tried to make out the boat 
for a time, and when, giving it up, he leaped down from the 
rail, the heavy obscurity of the brig's main deck was agitated 
like a sombre pool by his jump, swayed, eddied, seemed to 
break up. Blotches of darkness recoiled, drifted away, bare 


feet shuffled hastily, confused murmurs died out. " Lascars," 
he muttered, "The crew is all agog." Afterwards, he lis- 
tened for a moment to the faintly tumultuous snores of the 
white men sleeping in rows, with their heads under the break 
of the poop. Somewhere about his feet, the yacht's black 
dog, invisible, and chained to a deck-ringbolt, whined, 
rattled the thin links, pattered with his claws in his distress 
at the unfamiliar surroundings, begging for the charity 
of human notice. Carter stooped impulsively, and was 
met by a startling lick in the face. — "Hallo, boy!" He 
thumped the thick curly sides, stroked the smooth head — 
"Good boy. Rover. Down. Lie down, dog. You don't 
know what to make of it — do you, boy?" The dog became 
stiU as death. " Well, neither do I, " muttered Carter. But 
such natures are helped by a cheerful contempt for the 
intricate and endless suggestions of thought. He told him- 
self that he would soon see what was to come of it, and 
dismissed all speculation. Had he been a little older he 
would have felt that the situation was beyond his grasp; 
but he was too young to see it whole and in a manner 
detached from himself. All these inexplicable events filled 
him with deep concern — but then on the other hand he 
had the key of the magazine and he could not fiind it in his 
heart to dislike Lingard. He was positive about this at 
last, and to know that much after the discomfort of an in- 
ward conflict went a long way towards a solution. When he 
followed Shaw into the cabin he could not repress a sense of 
enjoyment or hide a faint and malicious smile. 

"Gone away — did you say? And carried off the lady with 
him?" discoursed Shaw very loud in the doorway. "Did 
he? Well, I am not surprised. What can you expect from 
a man Uke that, who leaves his ship in an open roadstead 
without — I won't say orders — ^but without as much as a 
single word to his next in command. And at night at that! 
That just shows you the kind of man. Is this the way to 
treat a chief mate? I ap-prehend he was riled at the little 
al-ter-cation we had just before you came on board. I told 
him a truth or two — but — never mind. There's the law 


and that's enough for me. I am captain as long as he is out 
of the ship, and if his address before very long is not in one 
of Her Majesty's jails or other I au-tho-rise you to call me 
a Dutchman. You mark my words." 

He walked in masterfully, sat down and surveyed the cabin 
in a leisurely and autocratic manner; but suddenly his eyes 
became stony with amazement and indignation; he pointed a 
fat and trembling forefinger. 

"Niggers," he said, huskily. "In the cuddy! In the 
cuddy!" He appeared bereft of speech for a time. 
Since he entered the cabin Hassim had been watching him in 
thoughtful and expectant silence. "I can't have it," he 
continued with genuine feeling in his voice. "Damme! 
I've too much respect for myself." He rose with heavy 
deliberation; his eyes bulged out in a severe and dignified 
stare. "Out you go!" he bellowed, suddenly, making a 
step forward. — "Great Scott! What are you up to, mister?" 
asked in a tone of dispassionate surprise the steward whose 
head appeared in the doorway. "These are the Captain's 
friends."- — " Show me a man's friends and ..." began Shaw, 
dogmatically, but abruptly passed into the tone of admo- 
nition. "You take your mug out of the way, bottlewasher. 
They ain't friends of mine. I ain't a vagabond. I 
know what's due to myself. Quit!" he said, fiercely. 
Hassim, with an alert movement, grasped the handle 
of his Jcris. Shaw puffed his cheeks and frowned. — 
"Look out! He will stick you like a prize pig," murmured 
Carter without moving a muscle. Shaw looked round help- 
lessly. — "And you would enjoy the fun — wouldn't you," 
he said with slow bitterness. Carter's distant non- 
committal smile quite overwhelmed him by its horrid frigid- 
ity. Extreme despondency replaced the proper feeling of 
racial pride in the primitive soul of the mate. "My God! 
What luck! What have I done to fall amongst that lot?" 
he groaned, sat down, and took his big gray head in his 
hands. Carter drew aside to make room for Immada, who, 
in obedience to a whisper from her brother, sought to leave 
the cabin. She passed out after an instant of hesitation, 


during which she looked up at Carter once. Her 
brother, motionless in a defensive attitude, protected 
her retreat. She disappeared; Hassim's grip on his 
weapon relaxed; he looked in turn at every object in the 
cabin as if to fix its position in his mind forever, and follow- 
ing his sister, walked out with noiseless footfalls. 

They entered the same darkness which had received, en- 
veloped and hidden the troubled souls of Lingard and Edith, 
but to these two the light from which they had felt them- 
selves driven away was now like the light of forbidden hopes; 
it had the awful and tranquil brightness that a light burning 
on the shore has for an exhausted swimmer about to give him- 
self up to the fateful sea. They looked back; it had disap- 
peared; Carter had shut the cabin door behind them to have 
it out with Shaw. He wanted to arrive at some kind of work- 
ing compromise with the nominal commander, but the mate 
was so demoralized by the novelty of the assaults made 
upon his respectability that the young defender of the brig 
could get nothing from him except lamentations mingled 
with mild blasphemies. The brig slept, and along her quiet 
deck the voices raised in her cabin — Shaw's appeals and re- 
proaches directed vociferously to heaven, together with 
Carter's inflexible drawl mingled into one deadened, modu- 
lated and continuous murmur. The lookouts in the waist, 
motionless and peering into obscurity, one ear turned to the 
sea, were aware of that strange resonance like the ghost 
of a quarrel that seemed to hover at their backs. Wasub, 
after seeing Hassim and Immada into their canoe, prowled 
to and fro the whole length of the vessel vigilantly. There 
was not a star in the sky and no gleams in the water; there 
was no horizon, no outline, no shape for the eye to rest upon, 
nothing for the hand to grasp. An obscurity that seemed 
without limit in space and time had submerged the universe 
hke a destroying flood. 

A lull of the breeze kept for a time the small boat in the 
neighbourhood of the brig. The hoisted sail, invisible, 
fluttered faintly, mysteriously, and the boat rising and falling 
bodily to the passage of each invisible undulation of the 


waters seemed to repose upon a living breast. Lingard, his 
hand on the tiller, sat up erect, expectant and silent. Mrs. 
Travers had drawn her cloak close around her body. Their 
glances plunged infinitely deep into a lightless void, and 
yet they were still so near the brig that the piteous 
whine of the dog, mingled with the angry rattling of the 
chain, reached their ears faintly, evoking obscure images of 
distress and fury. A sharp bark ending in a plaintive howl 
that seemed raised by the passage of phantoms invisible to 
men, rent the black stillness, as though the instinct of the 
brute inspired by the soul of night had voiced in a lamentable 
plaint the fear of the future, the anguish of lurking death, the 
terror of shadows. Not far from the brig's boat Hassim and 
Immada in their canoe, letting their paddles trail in the water, 
sat in a silent and invincible torpor as if the fitful puffs of 
wind had carried to their hearts the breath of a subtle poison 
that, very soon, would make them die. — "Have you seen the 
white woman's eyes?" cried the girl. She struck her palms 
together loudly and remained with her arms extended, with 
her hands clasped. "O Hassim! Have you seen her eyes 
shining under her eyebrows like rays of light darting under 
the arched boughs in a forest? They pierced me. I shud- 
der at the sound of her voice ! I saw her walk behind him — 
and it seems to me that she does not live on earth — that all 
this is witchcraft." 

She lamented in the night. Hassim kept silent. He had 
no illusions and in any other man but Lingard he would have 
thought the proceeding no better than suicidal folly. For 
him Travers and d'Alcacer were two powerful Rajahs — prob- 
ably relatives of the Ruler of the land of the English whom 
he knew to be a woman ; but why they should come and inter- 
fere with the recovery of his own kingdom was an obscure 
problem. He was concerned for Lingard's safety. That 
the risk was incurred mostly for his sake— so that the pros- 
pects of the great enterprise should not be ruined by a quarrel 
over the lives of these whites — did not strike him so much as 
may be imagined. There was that in him which made such 
an action on Lingard's part appear all but unavoidable. 


Was he not Rajah Hassim and was not the other a man of 
strong heart, of strong arm, of proud courage, a man great 
enough to protect highborn princes — ^a friend? Immada's 
words called out a smile which, like the words, was lost in the 
darkness. "Forget your weariness," he said, gently, "lest 
O ! Sister, we should arrive too late." The coming day would 
throw its light on some decisive event. Hassim thought of 
his own men who guarded the Emma and he wished to be 
where they could hear his voice. He regretted Jaffir was not 
there. Hassim was saddened by the absence from his side 
of that man who once had carried what he thought would 
be his last message to his friend. It had not been the last. 
He had lived to cherish new hopes and to face new troubles 
and, perchance, to frame another message yet, while death 
knocked with the hands of armed enemies at the gate. The 
breeze steadied; the succeeding swells swung the canoe 
smoothly up the unbroken ridges of water travelling apace 
along the land. They progressed slowly; but Immada's heart 
was more weary than her arms, and Hassim, dipping the blade 
of his paddle without a splash, peered right and left trying to 
make out the shadowy forms of islets. A long way ahead of 
the canoe and holding the same course, the brig's dinghy ran 
with broad lug extended, making for that narrow and winding 
passage between the coast and the southern shoals, which led 
to the mouth of the creek connecting the lagoon with the sea. 
Thus on that starless night the shallows were peopled by 
uneasy souls. The thick veil of clouds stretched over them, 
cut them o£F from the rest of the universe. At times Mrs. 
Travers had in the darkness the impression of dizzy speed, and 
again it seemed to her that the boat was standing still, that 
everything in the world was standing still and only her fancy 
roamed free from all trammels. Lingard, perfectly motionless 
by her side, steered, shaping his course by the feel of the wind. 
Presently he perceived ahead a ghostly flicker of faint, Hvid 
light which the earth seemed to throw up against the uniform 
blackness of the sky. The dinghy was approaching the ex- 
panse of the shallows. The confused clamour of broken 
water deepened its note. 


"How long are we going to sail like this?" asked Mrs. 
Travers, gently. She did not recognize the voice that pro- 
nounced the word "Always" in answer to her question. It 
had the impersonal ring of a voice without a master. Her 
heart beat fast. 

"Captain Lingard!" she cried. 

"Yes. What?" he said, nervously, as if startled out of 
a dream. 

"I asked you how long we were going to sail like this," 
she rep>eated, distinctly. 

"If the breeze holds we shall be in the lagoon soon after 
daybreak. That will be the right time, too. I shall leave 
you on board the hulk with Jorgenson." 

"And you? What will you do?" she asked. She had to 
waitfor a while. 

" I will do what I can," she heard him say at last. There 
was another pause. " All I can," he added. 

The breeze dropped, the sail fluttered. 

"I have perfect confidence in you," she said. "But are 
you certain of success?" 


The futility of her question came home to Mrs. Travers. 
In a few hours of life she had been torn away from all her 
certitudes, flung into a world of improbabilities. This 
thought instead of augmenting her distress seemed to soothe 
her. What she experienced was not doubt and it was not fear. 
It was something else. It might have been only a great 

She heard a dull detonation as if in the depth of the sea. 
It was hardly more than a shock and a vibration. A roller 
had broken amongst the shoals; the livid clearness Lingard 
had seen ahead flashed and flickered in expanded white 
sheets much nearer to the boat now. And all this — ^the wan 
burst of light, the faint shock as of something remote and 
immense falling into ruins, was taking place outside the limits 
of her life which remained encircled by an impenetrable dark- 
ness and by an impenetrable silence. Puffs of wind blew 
about her head and expired; the sail collapsed, shivered audi- 


bly, stood full and still in turn; and again the sensation of 
vertiginous speed and of absolute immobility succeeding each 
other with increasing swiftness merged at last into a bizarre 
state of headlong motion and profound peace. The darkness 
enfolded her like the enervating caress of a sombre universe. 
It was gentle and destructive. Its languor seduced her soul 
into surrender. Nothing existed and even all her memories 
vanished into space. She was content that nothing should 

Lingard, aware all the time of their contact in the narrow 
stern sheets of the boat, was startled by the pressure of 
the woman's head drooping on his shoulder. He stiffened 
himself still more as though he had tried on the approach 
of a danger to conceal his life in the breathless rigidity 
of his body. The boat soared and descended slowly; a 
region of foam and reefs stretched across her course hissing 
like a gigantic cauldron; a strong gust of wind drove her 
straight at it for a moment, then passed on and abandoned 
her to the regular balancing of the swell. The struggle 
of the rocks forever overwhelmed and emerging, with the 
sea forever victorious and repulsed, fascinated the man. 
He watched it as he would have watched something going on 
within himself while Mrs. Travers slept sustained by his arm, 
pressed to his side, abandoned to his support. The shoals 
guarding the Shore of Refuge had given him his first glimpse 
of success — the solid support he needed for his action. The 
shallows were the shelter of his dreams; their voice had the 
power to soothe and exalt his thoughts with the promise of 
freedom for his hopes. Never had there been such a generous 
friendship. ... A mass of white foam whirling about a 
centre of intense blackness spun silently past the side of the 
boat. . . . That woman he held like a captive on his arm 
had also been given to him by the shallows. 

Suddenly his eyes caught on a distant sandbank the red 
gleam of Daman's camp fire instantly eclipsed like the wink 
of a signalling lantern along the level of the waters. It 
brought to his mind the existence of the two men — those 
other captives. If the war canoe transporting them into the 


lagoon had left the sands shortly after Hassim's retreat from 
Daman's camp, Travers and d'Alcacer were by this time far 
away up the creek. Every thought of action had become 
odious to Lingard since all he could do in the world now was 
to hasten the moment of his separation from that woman to 
whom he had confessed the whole secret of his life. 

And she slept. She could sleep! He looked down at 
her as he would have looked at the slumbering ignorance 
of a child, but the life within him had the fierce beat of 
supreme moments. Near by, the eddies sighed along the 
reefs, the water soughed amongst the stones, clung round the 
rocks with tragic murmurs that resembled promises, good- 
byes or prayers. From the unfathomable distances of the 
night came the booming of the swell assaulting the seaward 
face of the shallows. He felt the woman's nearness with such 
intensity that he heard nothing. . . . Then suddenly he 
thought of death. 

"Wake up!" he shouted in her ear, swinging round in his 
seat. Mrs. Travers gasped; a splash of water flicked her 
over the eyes and she felt the separate drops run down her 
cheeks, she tasted them on her lips, tepid and bitter like 
tears. A swishing undulation tossed the boat on high fol- 
lowed by another and still another; and then the boat with 
the breeze abeam glided through still water, lying over at a 
steady angle. 

"Clear of the reef now," remarked Lingard in a tone of 

"Were we in any danger?" asked Mrs. Travers in a 

"Well, the breeze dropped and we drifted in very close 
to the rocks," he answered. "I had to rouse you. It 
wouldn't have done for you to wake up suddenly struggling in 
the water." 

So she had slept! It seemed to her incredible that she 
should have closed her eyes in this small boat, with the 
knowledge of their desperate errand, on so disturbed a sea. 
The man by her side leaned forward, extended his arm, and 
the boat going off before the wind went on faster on an ever 


keel. A motionless black bank resting on the sea stretched 
infinitely right in their way in ominous stillness. She called 
Lingard's attention to it. "Look at this awful cloud." 

"This cloud is the coast and in a moment we shall be enter- 
ing in the creek," he said, quietly. Mrs. Travers stared at 
it. Was it land — land f It seemed to her even less palpable 
than a cloud, a mere sinister immobility above the unrest of 
the sea, nursing in its depth the unrest of men who, to her 
mind, were no more real than fantastic shadows. 

WHAT struck Mrs. Travers most, directly she set 
eyes on him, was the other world aspect of Jorgenson. 
He had been buried out of sight so long that his tall, 
gaunt body, his unhurried, mechanical movements, his set 
face and his eyes with an empty gaze suggested an invincible 
indifference to all the possible surprises of the earth. That 
appearance of a resuscitated man who seemed to be com- 
manded by a conjuring spell strolled along the decks of what 
was even to Mrs. Travers' eyes the mere corpse of a ship 
and turned on her a pair of deep-sunk, expressionless eyes 
with an almost unearthly detachment. Mrs. Travers had 
never been looked at before with that strange and pregnant 
abstraction. Yet she didn't dislike Jorgenson. In the early 
morning light, white from head to foot in a perfectly clean suit 
of clothes which seemed hardly to contain any limbs, freshly 
shaven (Jorgenson's sunken cheeks with their withered col- 
ouring always had a sort of gloss as though he had the habit 
of shaving every two hours or so) he looked as immaculate 
as though he had been indeed a pure spirit superior to 
the soiling contacts of the material earth. He was disturbing 
but he was not repulsive. He gave no sign of greeting. 
Lingard addressed him at once. 

"You have had a regular staircase built up the side of the 
hulk, Jorgenson," he said. "It was very convenient for us 
to come aboard now, but in case of an attack don't you 
think. . . ." 

"I did think." There was nothing so dispassionate in the 
world as the voice of Captain H. C. Jorgenson, ex Barque 
Wild Rose, since he had recrossed the Waters of Oblivion to 
step back into the life of men. "I did think, but since I 
don't want to make trouble. . . ." 



"Oh, you don't want to make trouble," interrupted Lin- 

" No. Don't believe in it. Do you. King Tom? " 

"I may have to make trouble." 

"So you came up here in this small dinghy of yours like 
this to start making trouble, did you? " 

"What's the matter with you? Don't you know me yet, 

"I thought I knew you. How could I tell that a man like 
you would come along for a fight bringing a woman with him ? " 

"This lady is Mrs. Travers," said Lingard. "The wife 
of one of the luckless gentlemen Daman got hold of last 
evening. . . . This is Jorgenson, the friend of whom I 
have been telling you, Mrs. Travers." 

Mrs. Travers smiled faintly. Her eyes roamed far and 
near and the strangeness of her surroundings, her overpowering 
curiosity, the conflict of interest and doubt gave her the as- 
pect of one still new to life, presenting an innocent and naive 
attitude before the surprises of experience. She looked 
very guileless and youthful between those two men. Lin- 
gard gazed at her with that unconscious tenderness mingled 
with wonder, which some men manifest towards girlhood. 
There was nothing of a conqueror of kingdoms in his bearing. 
Jorgf uson preserved his amazing abstraction which seemed 
nei^xer to hear nor see anything. But, evidently, he kept 
a mysterious grip on events in the world of living men be- 
cause he asked very naturally: 

"How did she get away?" 

"The lady wasn't on the sandbank," explained Lingard, 

"What sandbank?" muttered Jorgenson, perfunctorily. 
. . "Is the yacht looted, Tom?" 

"Nothing of the kind," said Lingard. 

"Ah, many dead?" inquired Jorgenson. 

"I tell you there was nothing of the kind," said Lingard, 

"What? No fight!" inquired Jorgenson again without 
the slightest sign of animation. 



"And you a fighting man." 

"Listen to me, -Jorgenson. Things turned out so that 
before the time came for a fight it was already too late." 
He turned to Mrs. Travers still looking about with anxious 
eyes and a faint smile on her lips. " While I was talking to 
you that evening from the boat it was already too late. No. 
There was never any time for it. I have told you all about 
myself, Mrs. Travers, and you know that I speak the truth 
when I say too late. If you had only been alone in that 
yacht going about the seas!" 

"Yes," she struck in, "but I was not alone." 

Lingard dropped his chin on his breast. Already a fore- 
taste of noonday heat staled the sparkling freshness of the 
morning. The smile had vanished from Edith Travers' lips 
and her eyes rested on Lingard's bowed head with an ex- 
pression no longer curious but which might have appeared 
enigmatic to Jorgenson if he had looked at her. But Jorgen- 
son looked at nothing. He asked from the remoteness of his 
dead past, "What have you left outside, Tom.'' What is 
there now.?" 

"There's the yacht on the shoals, my brig at anchor and 
about a hiuidred of the worst kind of Illanun vagabonds 
under three chiefs and with two war-praus moored to the e^lge 
of the bank. Maybe Daman is with them, too, out theiWr." 

"No," said Jorgenson, positively. 

" He has come in," cried Lingard. "He brought his prison- 
ers in himself then." 

"Landed by torchlight," uttered precisely the shade of 
Captain Jorgenson, late of the Barque Wild Rose. He 
swung his arm pointing across the lagoon and Mrs. Travers 
turned about in that direction. 

All the scene was but a great light and a great solitude. 
Her gaze travelled over the lustrous, dark sheet of empty 
water to a shore bordered by a white beach empty, too, and 
showing no sign of human life. The human habitations 
were lost in the shade of the fruit trees, masked by the culti- 
vated patches of Indian corn and the banana plantations. 


Near tke shore the rigid lines of two stockaded forts could be 
distinguished flanking the beach, and between them with a 
great open space before it, the brown roof slope of an enor- 
mous long building that seemed suspended in the air had a 
great square flag fluttering above it. Something like a small 
wTiite flame in the sky was the carved white coral finial on 
the gable of the mosque which had caught full the rays of 
the sun. A multitude of gay streamers, white and red, 
flew over the half -concealed roofs, over the brilliant fields and 
amongst the sombre palm-groves. But it might have been a 
deserted settlement decorated and abandoned by its de- 
parted population. Lingard pointed to the stockade on the 

"That's where your husband is," he said to Mrs. Travers. 

"Who is the other?" uttered Jorgenson's voice at their 
backs. He also was turned that way with his strange sight- 
less gaze fixed beyond them into the void. 

"A Spanish gentleman I believe you said, Mrs. Travers," 
observed Lingard. 

"It is extremely difficult to believe that there is anybody 
there," murmured Mrs. Travers. 

"Did you see them both, Jorgenson?" asked Lingard. 

" Made out nobody. Too far. Too dark." 

As a matter of fact Jorgenson had seen nothing, about an 
hour before daybreak, but the distant glare of torches, while 
the loud shouts of an excited multitude had reached him across 
the water only like a faint and tempestuous murmur. Pres- 
ently the lights went away processionally through the groves 
of trees into the armed stockades. The distant glare vanished 
in the fading darkness and the murmurs of the invisible crowd 
ceased suddenly as if carried off by the retreating shadow of 
the night. Daylight followed swiftly, disclosing to the sleep- 
less Jorgenson the sohtude of the shore and the ghostly out- 
lines of the familiar forms of grouped trees and scattered hu- 
man habitations. He had watched the varied colours come 
out in the dawn, the wide cultivated settlement of many 
shades of green, framed far away by the fine black lines of 
the forest-edge that was its limit and its protection. 


Mrs. Travers stood against the rail as motionless as a 
statue. Her face had lost all its mobility and her cheeks 
were dead white as if all the blood in her body had flowed 
back into her heart and had remained there. Her very lips 
had lost their colour. Lingard caught hold of her arm 

"Don't, Mrs. Travers. Why are you terrifying yourself 
like this? If you don't believe what I say listen to me asking 
Jorgenson. . . ." 

"Yes, ask me," mumbled Jorgenson in his white mous- 

"Speak straight, Jorgenson. What do you think? Are 
the gentlemen alive?" 

"Certainly," said Jorgenson in a sort of disappointed 
tone as though he had expected a much more difficult ques- 

"Is their life in immediate danger?" 

"Of course not," said Jorgenson. 

Lingard turned away from the oracle. "You have heard 
him, Mrs. Travers. You may believe every word he says. 
There isn't a thought or a purpose in that Settlement," he 
contiuued, pointing at the dumb solitude of the lagoon, 
" that this man doesn't know as if they were his own." 

"I know. Ask me," muttered Jorgenson, mechanically. 

Mrs. Travers said nothing but made a slight movement and 
her whole rigid figure swayed dangerously. Lingard put 
his arm firmly round her waist and she did not seem aware 
of it till after she had turned her head and found Lingard's 
face very near her own. But his eyes full of concern looked 
so close into hers that she felt obliged to shut them like a 
woman about to faint. 

The effect this produced upon Lingard was such that she 
felt the tightening of his arm and as she opened her eyes again 
some of the colour returned to her face. She met the deep- 
ened expression of his solicitude with a look so steady, with 
a gaze that in spite of herself was so profoundly vivid that 
its clearness seemed to Lingard to throw all his past life into 
shade. — "I don't feel faint. It isn't that at all," she de- 


clared in a perfectly calm voice. It seemed to Lingard as 
cold as ice. 

"Very well," he agreed with a resigned smile. "But you 
just catch hold of that rail, please, before I let you go." 
She, too, forced a smile on her lips. 

"What incredulity," she remarked, and for a time made 
not the slightest movement. At last, as if making a conces- 
sion, she rested the tips of her fingers on the rail. Lingard 
gradually removed his arm. "And pray don't look upon me 
as a conventional 'weak woman' person, the delicate lady 
of your own conception," she said, facing Lingard, with her 
arm extended to the rail. "Make that effort please against 
your own conception of what a woman like me should be. 
I am perhaps as strong as you are. Captain Lingard. I 
mean it literally. In my body." — "Don't you think I 
have seen that long ago," she heard his deep voice protesting. 
— "And as to my courage," she continued, her expression 
charmingly undecided between frowns and smiles; "didn't 
I tell you only a few hours ago, only last evening, that I was 
not capable of thinking myself into a fright; you remember, 
when you were begging me to try something of the kind. 
Don't imagine that I would have been ashamed to try. But 
I couldn't have done it. No. Not even for the sake of 
somebody else's kingdom. Do you understand me.''" 

"God knows," said the attentive Lingard after a time, with 
an unexpected sigh. "You people seem to be made of 
another stuff." 

"What has put that absurd notion into your head?" 

"I didn't mean better or worse. And I wouldn't say it isn't 
good stuff either. What I meant to say is that it's different. 
One feels it. And here we are." 

"Yes, here we are," repeated Mrs. Travers. "And as to 
this moment of emotion, what provoked it is not a concern for 
anybody or anything outside myself. I felt no terror. 
I cannot even fix my fears upon any distinct image. You 
think I am shamelessly heartless in telling you this." 

Lingard made no sign. It didn't occur to him to make a 
sign. He simply hung on Mrs. Travers' words as it were only 


for the sake of the sound. — "I am simply frank with you," 
she continued. "What do I know of savagery, violence, 
murder? I have never seen a dead body in my life. The 
light, the silence, the mysterious emptiness of this place have 
suddenly afEected my imagination, I suppose. What is 
the meaning of this wonderful peace in which we stand — you 
and I alone?" 

Lingard shook his head. He saw the narrow gleam of 
the woman's teeth between the parted lips of her smile, 
as if all the ardour of her conviction had been dissolved 
at the end of her speech into wistful recognition of their 
partnership before things outside their knowledge. And 
he was warmed by something a little helpless in that smile. 
Within three feet of them the shade of Jorgenson, very 
gaunt and neat, stared into space. 

"Yes. You are strong," said Lingard. "But a whole long 
night sitting in a small boat ! I wonder you are not too stiff 
to stand." 

"I am not stiff in the least," she interrupted, still smiling. 
"I am really a very strong woman," she added, earnestly. 
"Whatever happens you may reckon on that fact." 

Lingard gave her an admiring glance. But the shade of 
Jorgenson, perhaps catching in its remoteness the sound of the 
word woman, was suddenly moved to begin scolding with 
all the liberty of a ghost, in a flow of passioidess indig- 

"Woman! That's what I say. That's just about the 
last touch — that you, Tom Lingard, red-eyed Tom, King 
Tom, and all those fine names, that you should leave 
your weapons twenty miles behind you, your men, your 
guns, your brig that is your strength, and come along here 
with your mouth full of fight, bare-handed and with a woman 
in tow. Well, well. . . ." 

"Don't forget, Jorgenson, that the lady hears you," 
remonstrated Lingard in a vexed tone. . . . "He 
doesn't mean to be rude," he remarked to Mrs. Travers quite 
loud, as if indeed Jorgenson were but an immaterial and feel- 
ingless illusion. "He has forgotten." 


"The woman is not in the least offended. I ask for nothing 
better than to be taken on that footing." 

"Forgot nothing!" mumbled Jorgenson with a sort of 
ghostly assertiveness and as it were for his own satisfac- 
tion. "What's the world coming to?" 

"It was I who insisted on coming with Captain Lingard,"" 
said Mrs. Travers, treating Jorgenson to a fascinating sweet- 
ness of tone. 

"That's what I say! What is the world coming to? 
Hasn't King Tom a mind of his own? What has come over 
him? He's mad! Leaving his brig with a hundred and 
twenty born and bred pirates of the worst kind in two praus 
on the other side of a sandbank. Did you insist on that, 
too? Has he put himself in the hands of a strange woman? " 

Jorgenson seemed to be asking those questions of him- 
self. Mrs. Travers observed the empty stare, the self- 
communing voice, his unearthly lack of animation. Some- 
how it made it very easy to speak the whole truth to him. 

"No," she said, "it is I who am altogether in his hands." 

Nobody would have guessed that Jorgenson had heard a 
single word of that emphatic declaration if he had not ad- 
dressed himself to Lingard with the question neither more 
nor less abstracted than all his other speeches. 

"Why then did you bring her along?" 

"You don't understand. It was only right and proper. 
One of the gentlemen is the lady's husband." 

"Oh, yes," muttered Jorgenson. "Who's the other?" 

"You have been told. A friend." 

"Poor Mr. d'Alcacer," said Mrs. Travers. "What bad 
luck for him to have accepted our invitation. But he is really 
a mere acquaintance." 

"I hardly noticed him," observed Lingard, gloomily. "He 
was talking to you over the back of your chair when I came 
aboard the yacht as if he had been a very good friend." 

"We always understood each other very well," said Mrs. 
Travers, picking up from the rail the long glass that was lying 
there. "I always liked him, the frankness of his mind, 
and his great loyalty." 


"What did he do?" asked Lingard. 

"He loved," said Mrs. Travers, lightly. "But that's an 
old story." She raised the glass to her eyes, one arm ex- 
tended fully to sustain the long tube, and Lingard forgot 
d'Alcacer in admiring the firmness of her pose and the abso- 
lute steadiness of the heavy glass. She was as firm as a rock 
after all those emotions and all that fatigue. 

Mrs. Travers directed the glass instinctively towards the 
entrance of the lagoon. The smooth water there shone like a 
piece of silver in the dark frame of the forest. A black speck 
swept across the field of her vision. It was some time before 
she could find it again and then she saw, apparently so near 
as to be within reach of the voice, a small canoe with two 
people in it. She saw the wet paddles rising and dipping 
with a flash in the sunlight. She made out plainly the face 
of Immada, who seemed to be looking straight into the big 
end of the telescope. The chief and his sister, after resting 
imder the bank for a couple of hours in the middle of the 
night, had entered the lagoon and were making straight for 
the hulk. They were already near enough to be perfectly 
distinguishable to the naked eye if there had been anybody on 
board to glance that way. But nobody was even thinking 
of them. They might not have existed except perhaps in the 
memory of old Jorgenson. But that was mostly busy with 
all the mysterious secrets of his late tomb. 

Mrs. Travers lowered the glass suddenly. Lingard came 
out from a sort of trance and said : 

"Mr. d'Alcacer loved. Well, why shouldn't he?" 

Mrs. Travers looked frankly into Lingard's gloomy eyes. 
"It isn't that alone, of course," she said. "First of all he 
knew how to love and then. . . . But you can't know 
how artificial and barren certain kinds of life can be. But 
Mr. d'Alcacer 's life was not that. His devotion was worth 

"You seem to know a lot about him," said Lingard, en- 
viously. "Why do you smile?" She continued to smile 
at him for a little while. The long brass tube over her 
shoulder shone like gold against the pale fairness of her bare 


liead. "At a thought," she answered, preserving the low- 
tone of the conversation into which they had fallen as if 
their words could have disturbed the self -absorption of Cap- 
tain H. C. Jorgenson. "At the thought that for all my long 
acquaintance with Mr. d'Alcacer I don't know half as much 
about him as I know about you." 

"Ah, that's impossible," contradicted Lingard. "Span- 
iard or no Spaniard, he is one of your kind." 

"Tarred with the same brush," murmured Mrs. Travers, 
with only a half-amused irony. But Lingard continued: 

"He was trying to make it up between me and your hus- 
band, wasn't he? I was too angry to pay much attention, 
but I liked him well enough. What pleased me most was 
the way in which he gave it up. That was done like a gen- 
tleman. Do you understand what I mean, Mrs. Travers?" 

"I quite understand." 

"Yes, you would," he commented, simply. "But just 
then I was too angry to talk to anybody. And so I cleared 
out on board my own ship and stayed there, not knowing 
what to do and wishing you all at the bottom of the sea. 
Don't mistake me, Mrs. Travers; it's you, the people aft, that 
I wished at the bottom of the sea. I had nothing against 
the poor devils on board. They would have trusted me 
quick enough. So I fumed there till — till. . . ." 

"TiU nine o'clock or a little after," suggested Mrs. Trav- 
ers, impenetrably. 

"No. Till I remembered you," said Lingard with the ut- 
most innocence. 

"Do you mean to say that you forgot my existence so com- 
'pletely tiU then? You had spoken to me on board the 
yacht, you know." 

"Did I? I thought I did. What did I say?" 

"You told me not to touch a dusky princess," answered 
Mrs. Travers with a short laugh. Then with a visible change 
of mood as if she had suddenly out of a light heart been re- 
called to the sense of the critical situation: "But indeed I 
meant no harm to this figure of your dream. And, look over 
there. She is pursuing you." Lingard glanced towards the 


north shore and suppressed an exclamation of remorse. For 
the second time he discovered that he had forgotten the exist- 
ence of Hassim and Immada. The canoe was now near 
enough for its occupants to distinguish plainly the heads of 
three people above the low bulwark of the Emma. Immada 
let her paddle trail suddenly in the water, with the exclama- 
tion "I see the white woman there." Her brother looked 
over his shoulder and the canoe floated, arrested as if by the 
sudden power of a spell. — "They are no dream to me," mut- 
tered Lingard, sturdily. Mrs. Travers turned abruptly away 
to look at the further shore. It was still and empty to the 
naked eye and seemed to quiver in the sunshine like an im- 
mense painted curtain lowered upon the unknown. 

"Here's Rajah Hassim coming, Jorgenson. I had an idea 
he would perhaps istay outside." Mrs. Travers heard Lin- 
gard's voice at her back and the answering grunt of Jorgenson. 
She raised deliberately the long glass to her eye, pointing it 
at the shore. 

She distinguished plainly now the colours in the flutter 
of the streamers above the brown roofs of the large Settle- 
ment, the stir of palm-groves, the black shadows inland and 
the dazzling white beach of coral strand all ablaze in its for- 
midable mystery. She swept the whole range of the view 
and was going to lower the glass when from behind the mas- 
sive angle of the stockade there stepped out into the brilliant 
immobility of the landscape a man in a long white gown and 
with an enormous black turban surmounting a dark face. 
Slow and grave he paced the beach ominously in the sun- 
shine, an enigmatical figure in an Oriental tale with some- 
thing weird and menacing in its sudden emergence and lonely 

With an involuntary gasp Mrs. Travers lowered the glass. 
All at once behind her back she heard a low musical voice 
beginning to pour out incomprehensible words in a tone of 
passionate pleading. Hassim and Immada had come on board 
and had approached Lingard. Yes ! It was intolerable to 
feel that this flow of soft speech which had no meaning for 
her could make its way straight into that man's heart. 



MAY I come in?" 
"Yes," said a voice within. "The door is open." 
It had a wooden latch. Mr. Travers lifted it while 
the voice of his wife continued as he entered. "Did you 
imagine I had locked myself in? Did you ever know me 
to lock myself in? " 

Mr. Travers closed the door behind him. "No, it has 
never come to that," in a tone that was not conciliatory. In 
that place which was a room in a wooden hut and had a 
square opening without glass but with a half -closed shutter 
he could not distinguish his wife very well at once. She was 
sitting in an armchair and what he could see best was her 
fair hair all loose over the back of the chair. There was a 
moment of silence. The measured footsteps of two men 
pacing athwart the quarter-deck of the dead ship Emma 
commanded by the derelict shade of Jorgenson could be 
heard outside. 

Jorgenson, on taking up his dead command, had a house of 
thin boards built on the after deck for his own accommoda- 
tion and that of Lingard during his flying visits to the Shore 
of Refuge. A narrow passage divided it in two and Lin- 
gard's side was furnished with a camp bedstead, a rough desk 
and a rattan armchair. On one of his visits Lingard had 
brought with him a black seaman's chest and left it there. 
Apart from these objects and a small looking-glass worth 
about half a crown and nailed to the wall there was nothing 
else in there whatever. What was on Jorgenson's side of 
the deckhouse no one had seen, but from external evidence 
one could infer the existence of a set of razors. 

The erection of that primitive deckhouse was a matter of 
propriety rather than of necessity. It was proper that the 



white men should have a place to themselves on board, but 
Lingard was perfectly accurate when he told Mrs. Travers 
that he had never slept there once. His practice was to sleep 
on deck. As to Jorgenson, if he did sleep at all he slept 
very little. It might have been said that he haunted rather 
than commanded the Emma. His white form flitted here and 
there in the night or stood for hours, silent, contemplating the 
sombre glimmer of the lagoon. Mr. Travers' eyes accustomed 
gradually to the dusk of the place could now distinguish more 
of his wife's person than the great mass of honey-coloured 
hair. He saw her face, the dark eyebrows and her eyes that 
seemed profoundly black in the half light. He said: 

"You couldn't have done so here. There is neither lock 
nor bolt." 

"Isn't there? I didn't notice. I would know how to 
protect myself without locks and bolts." 

"I am glad to hear it," said Mr. Travers in a siillen tone 
and fell silent again surveying the woman in the chair. 
"Indulging your taste for fancy dress," he went on with faint 

Mrs. Travers clasped her hands behind her head. The 
wide sleeves slipping back bared her arms to her shoulders. 
She was wearing a Malay thin cotton jacket, cut low in the 
neck without a collar and fastened with wrought silver clasps 
from the throat down. She had replaced her yachting skirt 
by a blue check sarong embroidered with threads of gold. 
Mr. Travers' eyes travelling slowly down attached them- 
selves to the gleaming instep of an agitated foot from which 
hung a light leather sandal. 

"I had no clothes with me but what I stood in," said Mrs. 
Travers. "I found my yachting costume too heavy. It 
was intolerable. I was soaked in dew when I arrived. So 
when these things were produced for my inspection. . . ." 

"By enchantment," muttered Mr. Travers in a tone too 
heavy for sarcasm. 

"No. Out of that chest. There are very fine stuffs 

"No doubt," said Mr. Travers. "The man wouldn't be 


above plundering the natives. . . ." He sat down 
heavily on the chest. "A most appropriate costume for 
this farce," he continued. "But do you mean to wear it in 
open dayhght about the decks.?" 

"Indeed I do," said Mxs. Travers. "D'AIcacer has 
seen me already and he didn't seem shocked." 

"You should," said Mr. Travers, "try to get yourself 
presented with some bangles for your ankles so that you may 
jingle as you walk." 

"Bangles are not necessities," said Mrs. Travers in a weary 
tone and with the fixed upward look of a person imwiUing 
to relinquish her dream. Mr. Travers dropped the subject 
to ask: 

"And how long is this farce going to last?" 

Mrs. Travers imclasped her hands, lowered her glance and 
changed her whole pose in a moment. 

"What do you mean by farce? What farce?" 

"The one which is being played at my expense." 

"You believe that." 

"Not only believe. I feel deeply that it is so. At my 
expense. It's a most sinister thing," Mr. Travers pursued, 
stiU with downcast eyes and in an unforgiving tone. "I 
must tell you that when I saw you in that comi;yard in a 
crowd of natives and leaning on that man's arm, it gave me 
quite a shock." 

"Did I, too, look sinister?" said Mrs. Travers turning her 
head shghtly towards her husband. "And yet I assure you 
that I was glad, profoundly glad, to see you safe from danger 
for a time at least. To gain time is everything. . . ." 

"I ask myself," Mr. Travers meditated aloud, "was I ever 
in danger? Am I safe now? I don't know. I can't tell. 
No ! AU this seems an abominable farce." 

There was that in his tone which made his wife continue 
to look at him with awakened interest. It was obvious that 
he suffered from a distress which was not the effect of fear; 
and Mrs. Travers' face expressed real concern till he added in 
a freezing manner: "The question, however, is as to your 


She leaned back again in the chair and let her hands rest 
quietly in her lap. "Would you have preferred me to 
remain outside, in the yacht, in the near neighbourhood of 
these wild men who captured you? Or do you think that 
they, too, were got up to carry on a farce?" 

"Most decidedly," Mr. Travers raised his head, though of 
course not his voice. "You ought to have remained in the 
yacht amongst white men, your seryants, the sailing-master, 
the crew whose duty it was to. . . . Who would have 
been ready to die for you." 

■"I wonder why they should have — and why I should have 
asked them for that sacrifice. However, I have no doubt 
they would have died. Or would you have preferred me to 
take up my quarters on board that man's brig? We were 
all fairly safe there. The real reason why I insisted on com- 
ing in here was to be nearer to you — to see for myseK what 
could be or was being done. . . . But really if you 
want me to explain my motives then I may just as well say 
nothing. I couldn't remain outside for days without news, 
in a state of horrible doubt. We couldn't even teU whether 
you and d'Alcacer were still alive till we arrived here. You 
might have been actually murdered on the sandbank, after 
Rajah Hassim and that girl had gone away; or kiUed while 
going up the river. And I wanted to know at once, as soon 
as possible. It was a matter of impulse. I went off in what 
I stood in without delaying a moment." 

"Yes," said Mr. Travers. "And without even thinking 
of having a few things put up for me in a bag. No doubt 
you were in a state of excitement. Unless you took such a 
tragic view that it seemed to you hardly worth while to 
bother about my clothes." 

"It was absolutely the impulse of the moment. I could 
have done nothing else. Won't you give me credit for it?" 

Mr. Travers raised his eyes again to his wife's face. He 
saw it calm, her attitude reposeful. Till then his tone had 
been resentful, dull, without sarcasm. But now he be- 
came slightly pompous. 

"No. As a matter of fact, as a matter of experience. 


I can't credit you with the possession of feelings appropriate 
to your origin, social position and the ideas of the class to 
which you belong. It was the heaviest disappointment of 
my life. I had made up my mind not to mention it as long 
as I lived. This, however, seems an occasion which you have 
provoked yourself. It isn't at all a solemn occasion. I 
don't look upon it as solemn at all. It's very disagreeable 
and humiliating. But it has presented itself. You have 
never taken a serious interest in the activities of my life 
which of course are its distinction and its value. And why 
you should be carried away suddenly by a feeling towards 
the mere man I don't understand." 

"Therefore you don't approve," Mrs. Travers commented 
in an even tone. "But I assure you, you may safely. My 
feeling was of the most conventional nature, exactly as if the 
whole world were looking on. After all, we are husband and 
wife. It's eminently fitting that I should be concerned about 
yotu" fate. Even the man you distrust and dislike so much 
(the warmest feeling let me tell you that I ever saw you dis- 
play) even that man found my conduct perfectly proper. 
His own word. Proper. So eminently proper that it alto- 
gether silenced his objections." 

Mr. Travers shifted uneasily on his seat. 

"It's my belief, Edith, that if you had been a man you 
would have led a most irregular life. You would have been 
a frank adventurer. I mean morally. It has been a great 
grief to me. You have a scorn in you for the serious side of 
life, for the ideas and the ambitions of the social sphere to 
which you belong." 

He stopped because his wife had clasped again her hands 
behind her head and was no longer looking at him. 

"It's perfectly obvious," he began again. "We have 
been living amongst most distinguished men and women and 
your attitude to them has been always so — so negative! 
You would never recognize the importance of achievements, 
of acquired positions. I don't remember you ever admiring 
frankly any political or social success. I ask myself what 
after all you could possibly have expected from life." 


"I could never have expected to hear such a speech from 
you. As to what I did expect! ... I must have been 
very stupid." 

"No, you are anything but that," declared Mr. Travers, 
conscientiously. "It isn't stupidity." He hesitated for a 
moment. "It's a kind of wilfulness, I think. I preferred 
not to think about this grievous difference in our points of 
view, which, you will admit, I could not have possibly fore- 
seen before we. . . ." 

A sort of solemn embarrassment had come over Mr. Trav- 
ers. Mrs. Travers, leaning her chin on the palm of her hand, 
stared at the bare matchboard side of the hut. 

"Do you charge me with profound girlish duplicity?" 
she asked, very softly. 

The inside of the deckhouse was full of stagnant heat 
perfumed by a slight scent which seemed to emanate from the 
loose mass of Mrs. Travers' hair. Mr. Travers evaded the 
direct question which struck him as lacking fineness even to 
the point of impropriety. 

"I must suppose that I was not in the calm possession of 
my insight and judgment in those days," he said. "I — I 
was not in a critical state of mind at the time," he admitted 
further; but even after going so far he did not look up 
at his wife and therefore missed something like the ghost 
of a smUe on Mrs. Travers' lips. That smile was tinged 
with scepticism which was too deep-seated for anything but 
the faintest expression. Therefore she said nothing, and Mr. 
Travers went on as if thinking aloud : 

"Your conduct was, of course, above reproach; but you 
made for yourself a detestable reputation of mental superi- 
ority, expressed ironically. You inspired mistrust in the 
best people. You were never popular." 

"I was bored," murmured Mrs. Travers in a reminiscent 
tone and with her chin resting in the hollow of her hand. 

Mr. Travers got up from the seaman's chest as unex- 
pectedly as if he had been stung by a wasp, but, of course, 
with a much slower and solemn motion. 

"The matter with you, Edith, is that at heart you are 


perfectly primitive." Mrs. Travers stood up, too, with a 
supple, leisurely movement, and raising her hands to her hair 
turned half away with a pensive remark: 
"Imperfectly civilized." 

"Imperfectly disciplined," corrected Mr. Travers after a 
moment of dreary meditation. 

She let her arms fall and turned her head. 

"No, don't say that," she protested with strange earnest- 
ness. "I am the most severely disciplined person in the 
world. I am tempted to say that my discipline has stopped 
at nothing short of killing myself. I suppose you can hardly 
understand what I mean." 

Mr. Travers made a slight grimace at the floor. 

"I shall not try," he said. "It sounds like something 
that a barbarian, hating the dehcate complexities and the 
restraints of a nobler life, might have said. From you it 
strikes me as wilful bad taste. ... I have often won- 
dered at your tastes. You have always liked extreme opin- 
ions, exotic costumes, lawless characters, romantic person- 
alities — ^like d'Alcacer. . . ." 

"Poor Mr. d'Alcacer," murmured Mrs. Travers. 

"A man without any ideas of duty or usefulness," said 
Mr. Travers, acidly. "What are you pitying him for?" 

"Why? For finding himself in this position out of mere 
good-nature. He had nothing to expect from joining our 
voyage, no advantage for his political ambitions or anything 
of the kind. I suppose you asked him on board to break 
our tete-a-t^te wkich must have grown Wearisome to you." 

"I am never bored," declared Mr. Travers. "D'Alcacer 
seemed glad to come. And, being a Spaniard, the horrible 
waste of time cannot matter to him in the least." 

"Waste of time!" repeated Mrs. Travers, indignantly. 
"He may yet have to pay for his good-nature with his life." 

Mr. Travers could not conceal a movement of anger. 

"Ah! I forgot those assumptions," he said between his 
clenched teeth. "He is a mere Spaniard. He takes this 
farcical conspiracy with perfect nonchalance. Decayed 
races have their own philosophy." 


"He takes it with a dignity of his own." 

"I don't know what you call his dignity. I should call it 
lack of self-respect-" 

"Why? Because he is quiet and courteous, and reserves 
his judgment. And allow me to tell you, Martin, that you 
are not taking our troubles very well." 

"You can't expect from me all those foreign affectations. 
I am not in the habit of compromising with my feelings." 

Mrs. Travers turned completely round and faced her hus- 
band. "You sulk," she said. . . . Mr. Travers jerked 
his head back a little as if to let the word go past. — "I am 
outraged," he declared. Mrs. Travers recognized there 
something like real suffering. — "I assure you," she said, seri- 
ously (for she was accessible to pity), "I assure you that this 
strange Lingard has no idea of your importance. He doesn't 
know anything of your social and political position and still 
less of your great ambitions." Mr. Travers Ustened with 
some attention. — "Couldn't you have enlightened him?" 
he asked. — "It would have been no use; his mind is fixed 
upon his own position and upon his own sense of power. 
He is a man of the lower classes . . . ." — "He is a brute," 
said Mr. Travers, obstinately, and for a moment those two 
looked straight into each other's eyes. — "Oh," said Mrs. 
Travers, slowly, "you are determined not to compromise 
with your feelings!" An undertone of scorn crept into 
her voice. "But shall I tell you what I think? I think," 
and she advanced her head slightly towards the pale, un- 
shaven face that confronted her dark eyes; "I think that for 
all your blind scorn you judge the man well enough to feel 
that you can indulge your indignation with perfect safety. 
Do you hear? With perfect safety!" Directly she had 
spoken she regretted these words. Really it was unreason- 
able to take Mr. Travers' tricks of character more passion- 
ately on this spot of the Eastern Archipelago full of obscure 
plots and warring motives, than in the more artificial at- 
mosphere of the town. After aU what she wanted was simply 
to save his life, not to make him understand anything. 
Ml. Travers opened his mouth and without uttering a 


word shut it again. His wife turned towards the looking- 
glass nailed to the wall. She heard his voice behind her. 

"Edith, Where's the truth in all this?" 

She detected the anguish of a slow mind with an instinctive 
dread of obscure places wherein new discoveries can be 
made. She looked over her shoulder to say : 

"It's on the surface, I assure you. Altogether on the 

She turned again to the looking-glass where her own face 
met her with dark eyes and a fair mist of hair above the 
smooth forehead; but her words had produced no soothing 

"But what does it mean?" cried Mr. Travers. "Why 
doesn't the fellow apologize? Why are we kept here? Are 
we being kept here? Why don't we get away? Why doesn't 
he take me back on board my yacht? What does he want 
from me? How did he procure our release from these people 
on shore that he says intended to cut our throats? Why 
did they give us up to him instead?" 

Mrs. Travers began to twist her hair on her head. 

"Matters of high policy and of local politics. Conflict 
of personal interests, mistrust between the parties, intrigues 
of individuals — ^you ought to know how that sort of thing 
works. His diplomacy made use of all that. The first 
thing to do was not to liberate you but to get you into his 
keeping. He is a very great man here and let me tell you 
that your safety depends on his dexterity in the use of his 
prestige rather than on his power which he cannot use. If 
you would let him talk to you I am sure he would tell you 
as much as it is possible for him to disclose." 

"I don't want to be told about any of his rascalities. But 
haven't you been taken into his confidence?" 

"Completely," admitted Mrs. Travers, peering into the 
small looking-glass. 

"What is the influence you brought to bear upon this 
man? It looks to me as if our fate were in your hands." 

"Your fate is not in my hands. It is not even in his 
hands. There is a moral situation which must be solved. ~ 


"Ethics of blackmail," commented Mr. Travers with 
imexpected sarcasm. It flashed through his wife's mind that 
perhaps she didn't know him so well as she had supposed. 
It was as if the polished and solemn crust of hard proprieties 
had cracked slightly, here and there, under the strain, dis- 
closing the mere wrong-headedness of a common mortal but 
it was only manner that had cracked a little; the marvellous 
stupidity of his conceit remained the same. She thought 
that this discussion was perfectly useless, and as she finished 
putting up her hair she said: "I think we had better go on 
deck now." 

"You propose to go out on deck like this?" muttered Mr. 
Travers with downcast eyes. 

"Like this? Certainly. It's no longer a novelty. Who 
is going to be shocked?" 

Mr. Travers made no reply. What she had said of his 
attitude was very true. He sulked at the enormous offensive- 
ness of men, things, and events; of words and even of glances 
which he seemed to feel physically resting on his skin like a 
pain, like a degrading contact. He managed not to wince. 
But he sulked. His wife continued, "And let me tell you 
that those clothes are fit for a princess — I mean they are of 
the quality, material and style custom prescribes for the 
highest in the land, a far distant land where I am informed 
women rule as much as the men. In fact they were meant to 
be presented to an actual princess in due course. They were 
selected with the greatest care for that child Immada. 
Captain Lingard. . . ." 

Mr. Travers made an inarticulate noise partaking of a 
groan and a grimt. 

"Well, I must call him by some name and this I thought 
would be the least offensive for you to hear. After all, the 
man exists. But he is known also on a certain portion of the 
earth's surface as King Tom. D'Alcacer is greatly taken by 
that name. It seems to him wonderfully well adapted to 
the man, in its familiarity and deference. And if you pre- 
fer. . . ." 

"I would prefer to hear nothing," said Mr. Travers, dis- 


tinctly. "Not a single word. Not even from you, till I 
am a free agent again. But words don't touch me. Nothing 
can touch me; neither your sinister warnings nor the moods 
of levity which you think proper to display before a man 
whose life, according to you, hangs on a thread." 

"I never forget it for a moment," said Mrs. Travers, 
"And I not only know that it does but I also know the 
strength of the thread. It is a wonderful thread. You 
may say if you like it has been spun by the same fate which 
made you what you are." 

Mr. Travers felt awfully offended. He had never heard 
anybody, let alone his own self, addressed in such terms. 
The tone seemed to question his very quality. He reflected 
with shocked amazement that he had lived with that woman 
for eight years! And he said to her gloomily: 

"You talk like a pagan." 

It was a very strong condemnation which apparently 
Mrs. Travers had failed to hear for she pursued with anima- 

"But really, you can't expect me to meditate on it all the 
time or shut myself up here and mourn the circumstances 
from morning to night. It would be morbid. Let us go 
on deck." 

"And you look simply heathenish in this costume," Mr. 
Travers went on as though he had not been interrupted, and 
with an accent of deliberate disgust. 

Her heart was heavy but everything he said seemed to 
force the tone of levity on to her lips. "As long as I don't 
look like a guy," she remarked, negligently, and then caught 
the direction of his lurid stare which as a matter of fact was 
fastened on her bare feet. She checked herself, "Oh, yes, 
if you prefer it I will put on my stockings. But you know 
I must be very careful of them. It's the only pair I have 
here. I have washed them this morning in that bathroom 
which is built over the stern. They are now drying over the 
rail just outside. Perhaps you will be good enough to pass 
them to me when you go on deck." 

Mr. Travers spun round and went on deck without a 


word. As soon as she was alone Mrs. Travers pressed her 
hands to her temples, a gesture of distress which relieved 
her by its sincerity. The measured footsteps of two men 
came to her plainly from the deck, rhythmic and double with 
a suggestion of tranquil and friendly intercourse. She dis- 
tinguished particularly the footfalls of the man whose life's 
orbit was most remote from her own. And yet the orbits 
had cut! A few days ago she could not have even conceived 
of his existence, and now he was the man whose footsteps 
it seemed to her her ears could single unerringly in the tramp 
of a crowd. It was, indeed, a fabulous thing. In the half 
light of her over-heated shelter she let an irresolute, frightened 
smile pass off her lips before she, too, went on deck. 


AN INGENIOUSLY constructed framework of light 
posts and thin laths occupied the greater part of the 
deck amidships of the Emma. The four walls of 
that airy structure were made of muslin. It was compara- 
tively lofty. A door-like arrangement of light battens filled 
with calico was further protected by a system of curtains 
calculated to baffle the pursuit of mosquitoes that haunted 
the shores of the lagoon in great singing clouds from sunset 
till sunrise. A lot of fine mats covered the deck space within 
the transparent shelter devised by Lingard and Jorgenson 
to make Mrs. Travers' existence possible during the time 
when the fate of the two men, and indeed probably of every- 
body else on board of the Emma, had to hang in the balance. 
Very soon Lingard's unbidden and fatal guests had learned 
the trick of stepping in and out of the place quickly. Mr. 
d'Alcacer performed the feat without apparent haste, almost 
nonchalantly, yet a» well as anybody. It was generally 
conceded that he had never let a mosquito in together with 
himself. Mr. Traver^s dodged in and out without grace 
and was obviously much irritated at the necessity. Mrs. 
Travers did it in a manner all her own, with marked clever- 
ness and an unconscious air. There was an improvised 
table in there and some wicker armchairs which Jorgenson 
had produced from somewhere in the depths of the ship. It 
was hard to say what the inside of the Emma did not contain. 
It was crammed with all sorts of goods like a general store. 
That old hulk was the arsenal and the war-chest of Lingard's 
political action; she was stocked with muskets and gun- 
powder, with bales of longcloth, of cotton prints, of silks; 
with bags of rice and currency brass guns. She contained 
everything necessary for dealing death and distributing 



bribes to act on the cupidity and upon the fears of men, to 
march and to organize, to feed the friends and to combat the 
enemies of the cause. She held wealth and power in her 
flanks, that grounded ship that would swim no more, without 
masts and with the best part of her deck cumbered by the 
two structures of thin boards and of transparent muslin. 
Within the latter lived the Europeans, visible in the daytime 
to the few Malays on board as if through a white haze. In 
the evening the lighting of the hurricane lamps inside turned 
them into dark phantoms surrounded by a shining mist, 
against which the insect world rushing in its millions out of 
the forest on the bank was baffled mysteriously in its assault. 
Rigidly enclosed by transparent walls, like captives of an 
enchanted cobweb, they moved about, sat, gesticulated, 
conversed publicly during the day ; and at night when all the 
lanterns but one were extinguished, their slumbering shapes 
covered all over by white cotton sheets on the camp bed- 
steads, which were brought in every evening, conveyed the 
gruesome suggestion of dead bodies reposing on stretchers. 
The food, such as it was, was served within that glorified mo- 
squito net which everybody called the "Cage" without any 
humorous intention. At meal times the party from the 
yacht had the company of Lingard who attached to this 
ordeal a sense of duty performed at the altar of civility and 
conciliation. He could have no conception how much his 
presence added to the exasperation of Mr. Travers because 
Mr. Travers' manner was too intensely consistent to present 
any shades. It was determined by an ineradicable conviction 
that he was a victim held to ransom on some incomprehensi- 
ble terms by an extraordinary and outrageous bandit. This 
conviction, strung to the highest pitch, never left him for a 
moment, being the object of indignant meditation to his 
mind, and even clinging, as it were, to his very body. It 
lurked in his eyes, in his gestures, in his ungracious mutters 
and in his sinister silences. The shock to his moral being 
had ended by affecting Mr. Travers' physical machine. 
He was aware of hepatic pains, suffered from accesses of 
somnolence and suppressed gusts of fury which frightened 


him secretly. His complexion had acquired a yellow tinge, 
while his heavy eyes had become bloodshot because of the 
smoke of the open wood fires during his three days' detention 
inside Belarab's stockade. His eyes had been always very 
sensitive to outward conditions. Mr. d'Alcacer's fine black 
eyes were more enduring and his appearance did not differ 
very much from his ordinary appearance on board the yacht. 
He had accepted with smiling thanks the offer of a thin blue 
flannel tunic from Jorgenson. Those two men were much 
of the same build though of course Mr. d'Alcacer, quietly 
alive and spiritually watchful, did not resemble Jorgenson, 
who, without being exactly macabre, behaved more like an 
indifferent but restless corpse. Those two could not be said 
to have ever conversed together. Conversation with Jor- 
genson was an impossible thing. Even Lingard never at- 
tempted the feat. He propounded questions to Jorgenson 
much as a magician would interrogate an evoked shade, or 
gave him curt directions as one would make use of some 
marvellous automaton. And that was apparently the way 
in which Jorgenson preferred to be treated. Lingard's real 
company on board the Emma was Mr. d'Alcacer. D'Alcacer 
had met Lingard on the easy terms of a man accustomed 
aU his life to good society in which the very affectations 
must be carried on without effort. Whether affectation, 
or nature, or inspired discretion, d'Alcacer never let the 
slightest curiosity pierce the smoothness of his level, grave 
courtesy lightened frequently by slight smiles which often 
had not much connection with the words he uttered, except 
that somehow they made them sound kindly and as it were 
tactful. In their character, however, those words were strictly 

The only time when Lingard had detected something of 
a deeper comprehension in d'Alcacer was the day after the 
long negotiations inside Belarab's stockade for the temporary 
surrender of the prisoners. That move had been suggested 
to him, exactly as Mrs. Travers had told her husband, by 
the rivalries of the parties and the state of public opinion 


in the Settlement deprived of the presence of the man who, 
theoretically at least, was the greatest power and the visible 
ruler of the Shore of Refuge. Belarab still lingered at his 
father's tomb. Whether that man of the embittered and 
pacific heart had withdrawn there to meditate upon the 
unruliness of mankind and the thankless nature of his task; 
or whether he had gone there simply to bathe in a particularly 
clear pool which was a feature of the place, give himself up 
to the enjoyment of a certain fruit which grew in profusion 
there, and indulge for a time in a scrupulous performance 
of religious exercises, his absence from the Settlement was a 
fact of the utmost gravity. It is true that the prestige of a 
long-unquestioned rulership, the long-settled mental habits 
of the people had caused the captives to be taken straight to 
Belarab 's stockade as a matter of course. Belarab, at the 
distance, could still outweigh the power on the spot of Tengga, 
whose secret purposes were no better known, who was jovial, 
talkative, outspoken and pugnacious; but who was not a 
professed servant of God famed for many charities and a 
scrupulous performance of pious practises, and who also had 
no father who had achieved a local saintship. But Belarab, 
with his glamour of asceticism and melancholy together with 
a reputation for severity (for a man so pious would be nat- 
urally ruthless), was not on the spot. The only favourable 
point in his absence was the fact that he had taken with him 
his latest wife, the same lady whom Jorgenson had mentioned 
in his letter to Lingard as anxious to bring about battle, 
murder and the looting of the yacht, not because of 
inborn wickedness of heart but from a simple desire for silks, 
jewels and other objects of personal adornment, quite nat- 
ural in a girl so young and elevated to such high position. 
Belarab had selected her to be the companion of his re- 
tirement and Lingard was glad of it. He was not afraid 
of her influence over Belarab. He knew his man. No 
words, no blandishments, no sulks, scoldings or whisperings 
of a favourite could affect either the resolves or the irresolu- 
tions of that Arab whose action ever seemed to hang in mystic 
suspense between the contradictory speculations and judg- 


ments disputing the possession of his will. It was not what 
Belarab would either suddenly do or leisurely determine 
upon that Lingard was afraid of. The danger was that in 
his taciturn hesitation, which had something hopelessly 
godlike in its remote calmness, the man would do nothing 
and leave his white friend face to face with unruly impulses 
against which Lingard had no means of action but force 
which he dared not use since it would mean the destruction 
of his plans and the downfall of his hopes; and worse still 
would wear an aspect of treachery to Hassim and Immada, 
those fugitives whom he had snatched away from the jaws 
of death on a night of storm and had promised to lead back 
in triumph to their own country he had seen but once, sleep- 
ing unmoved under the wrath and fire of heaven. 

On the afternoon of the very day he had arrived with 
her on board the Emma — to the infinite disgust of Jorgenson 
— Lingard held with Mrs. Travers (after she had a couple of 
hours' rest) a long, fiery and perplexed conversation. From 
the nature of the problem it could not be exhaustive; but 
towards the end of it they were both feeling thoroughly ex- 
hausted. Mrs. Travers had no longer to be instructed as to 
facts and possibilities. She was aware of them only too 
well and it was not her part to advise or argue. She was 
not called upon to decide or to plead. The situation was 
far beyond that. But she was worn out with watching 
the passionate conflict within the man who was both so 
desperately reckless and so rigidly restrained in the very 
ardour of his heart and the greatness of his soul. It was a 
spectacle that made her forget the actual questions at issue. 
This was no stage play; and yet she had caught herself look- 
ing at him with bated breath as at a great actor on a dark- 
ened stage in some simple and tremendous drama. He 
extorted from her a response to the forces that seemed 
to tear at his single-minded brain, at his guileless breast. 
He shook her with his own struggles, he possessed her with 
his emotions and imposed his personality as if its tragedy 
were the only thing worth considering in this matter. And 
yet what had she to do with all those obscure and bar- 


barous things? Obviously nothing. Unluckily she had 
been taken into the confidence of that man's passionate 
perplexity, a confidence provoked apparently by nothing but 
the power of her personality. She was flattered, and even 
more, she was touched by it; she was aware of something that 
resembled gratitude and provoked a sort of emotional return 
as between equals that had secretly recognized each other's 
value. Yet at the same time she regretted not having 
been left in the dark; as much in the dark as Mr. Travers 
himself or Mr. d'Alcacer, though as to the latter it was im- 
possible to say how much precise, unaccountable, intuitive 
knowledge was buried imder his unruffled manner. 

D'Alcacer was the sort of man whom it would be much 
easier to suspect of anything in the world than ignorance — 
or stupidity. Naturally he couldn't know anything definite 
or even guess at the bare outline of the facts but somehow 
he must have scented the situation in those few days of 
contact with Lingard. He was an acute and sympathetic 
observer in all his secret aloofness from the life of men 
which was so very different from Jorgenson's secret di- 
vorce from the passions of this earth. Mrs. Travers would 
have liked to share with d'Alcacer the burden (for it was 
a burden) of Lingard's story. After all, she had not pro- 
voked those confidences, neither had that unexpected ad- 
venturer from the sea laid on her an obligation of secrecy. 
No, not even by implication. He had never said to her 
that she was the only person whom he wished to know 
that story. 

No. What he had said was that she was the only person 
to whom he could tell the tale himself, as if no one else on 
earth had the power to draw it from him. That was the 
sense and nothing more. Yes, it would have been a reUef to 
tell d'Alcacer. It would have been a relief to her feeling 
of being shut off from the world alone with Lingard as if 
within the four walls of a romantic palace and in an exotic 
atmosphere. Yes, that relief and also another: that of shar- 
ing the responsibility with somebody fit to understand. Yet 
she shrank from it, with unaccountable reserve, as though 


talking of Lingard with d'Alcacer she was bound to give him 
an insight into herself. It was a vague uneasiness and yet 
so persistent that she felt it, too, when she had to approach 
and talk to Lingard under d'Alcacer's eyes. Not that Mr. 
d'Alcacer would ever dream of staring or even casting glances. 
But was he averting his face on purpose? That would be 
even more oflEensive. 

" I am stupid," whispered Mrs. Travers to herself, with a 
complete and reassuring conviction. Yet she waited motion- 
less till the footsteps of two men stopped outside the deck- 
house then separated and died away before she went out 
on deck. She came out on deck some time after her 
husband. As if in intended contrast to the conflicts of men 
a great aspect of serenity lay upon all visible things. Mr. 
Travers had gone inside the Cage in which he really looked 
like a captive and thoroughly out of place. D'Alcacer 
had gone in there, too, but he preserved — or was it an illusion.? 
— an air of independence. It was not that he put it on. Like 
Mr. Travers he sat in a wicker armchair in very much the 
same attitude as the other gentleman and also silent; but 
there was somewhere a subtle difference which did away with 
the notion of captivity. Moreover, d'Alcacer had that pecu- 
Uar gift of never looking out of place in any surroundings. Mrs. 
Travers, in order to save her European boots for active service, 
had been persuaded to use a pair of leather sandals also 
extracted from that seaman's chest in the deckhouse. An 
additional fastening had been put on them but she could not 
avoid making a delicate clatter as she walked on the deck. 
No part of her costume made her feel so exotic. It also 
forced her to alter her usual gait and move with quick, short 
steps very much like Immada. "I am robbing the girl of 
her clothes," she had thought to herself, "besides other 
things." She knew by this time that a girl of such high rank 
would never dream of wearing anything that had been worn 
by somebody else. 

At the sUght noise of Mrs. Travers' sandals Mr. d'Alcacer 
looked over the back of his chair. But he turned his head 
away at once and Mrs. Travers leaning her elbow on the raU 


and resting her head on the palm of her hand looked across 
the calm surface of the lagoon, idly. 

She was turning her back on the Cage, the fore-part of 
the deck and the edge of the nearest forest. That great 
erection of enormous solid trunks, dark, rugged columns fes- 
tooned with writhing creepers and steeped in gloom, was so 
close to the bank that by looking over the side of the ship 
she could see inverted in the glassy belt of water its massive 
and black reflection on the reflected sky that gave the im- 
pression of a clear blue abyss seen through a transparent film. 
And when she raised her eyes the same abysmal immobiUty 
seemed to reign over the whole sun-bathed enlargement of 
that lagoon which was one of the secret places of the earth. 
She felt strongly her isolation. She was so much the only 
being of her kind moving within this mystery that even to 
herself she looked like an apparition without rights and with- 
out defence and that must end by surrendering to those forces 
which seemed to her but the expression of the unconscious 
genius of the place. Hers was the most complete loneliness, 
charged with a catastrophic tension. It lay about her as 
though she had been set apart within a magic circle. It cut 
off — but it did not protect. The footsteps that she knew how 
to distinguish above all others on that deck were heard sud- 
denly behind her. She did not turn her head. 

Since that afternoon when the gentlemen, as Lingard called 
them, had been brought on board, Mrs. Travers and Lingard 
had not exchanged one significant word. 

When Lingard had decided to proceed by way of negotia- 
tion she had asked him on what he based his hope of success; 
and he had answered her: "On my luck." What he de- 
pended really on was his prestige; but even if he had been 
aware of such a word he would not have used it, since it 
would have sounded hke a boast. And, besides, he did 
really believe in his luck. Nobody, either white or brown, 
had ever doubted his word and that, of course, gave him 
great assurance in entering upon the negotiation. But 
the ultimate issue of it would be always a matter of luck. 
He said so distinctly to Mrs. Travers at the moment of 


teking leave of her, with Jorgenson already waiting for him 
in the boat that was to take them across the lagoon to 
Belarab's stockade. 

Startled by his decision (for it had come suddenly clinched 
by the words "I believe I can do it") Mrs. Travers had 
dropped her hand into his strong open palm, on which an 
expert in palmistry could have distinguished other lines than 
the line of luck. Lingard's hand closed on hers with a gentle 
pressure. She looked at him, speechless. He waited for a 
moment, then in an unconsciously tender voice he said: "Well, 
wish me luck then." 

She remained silent. And he still holding her hand looked 
surprised at her hesitation. It seemed to her that she could 
not let him go, and he didn't know what to say till it occurred 
to her to make use of the power she knew she had over him. 
She would try it again. "I am coming with you," she de- 
clared with decision. "You don't suppose I could remain 
here in suspense for hours, perhaps. . . ." 

He dropped her hand suddenly as if it had burnt him — 
"Oh yes, of course," he mumbled with an air of confusion. 
One of the men over there was her husband! And nothing 
less could be expected from such a woman. He had really 
nothing to say but she thought he hesitated. — "Do you 
think my presence would spoil everything? I assure you 
lamaluckyperson, too, inaway. . . . As lucky as you, 
at least," she had added in a murmiu* and with a smile which 
provoked his responsive mutter — "Oh, yes, we are a lucky 
pair of people." — "I count myseK lucky in having found a 
man like you to fight my — our battles," she said, warmly. 
"Suppose you had not existed? . . . You must let me 
come with you!" For the second time before her expressed 
wish to stand by his side he bowed his head. After all, 
if things came to the worst, she would be as safe between him 
and Jorgenson as left alone on board the Emma with a few 
Malay spearmen for all defence. For a moment Lingard 
thought of picking up the pistols he had taken out of his belt 
preparatory to joining Jorgenson in the boat, thinking it would 
be better to go to a big talk completely unarmed. They were 


lying on the rail but he didn't pick them up. Four shots 
didn't matter. They could not matter if the world of his 
creation were to go to pieces. He said nothing of that to 
Mrs. Travers but busied himself in giving her the means to 
alter her personal appearance. It was then that the sea- 
chest in the deckhouse was opened for the first time before the 
interested Mrs. Travers who had followed him inside. Lin- 
gard handed to her a Malay woman's light cotton coat with 
jewelled clasps to put over her European dress. It covered 
half of her yachting skirt. Mrs. Travers obeyed him without 
comment. He pulled out a long and wide scarf of white silk 
embroidered heavily on the edges and ends, and begged her 
to put it over her head and arrange the ends so as to muffle 
her face, leaving little more than her eyes exposed to view. — 
"We are going amongst a lot of Mohammedans," he ex- 
plained. — "I see. You want me to look respectable." She 
jested. — "I assure you, Mrs. Travers, "he pro tested, earnestly, 
"that most of the people there and certainly all the great 
men have never seen a white woman in their lives. But 
perhaps you would like better one of those other scarves? 
There are three in there." — "No, I like this one well enough. 
They are all very gorgeous. I see that the Princess is to be 
sent back to her land with all possible splendour. What a 
thoughtful man you are. Captain Lingard. That child will 
be touched by your generosity. . . . Will I do hke 

"Yes," said Lingard, averting his eyes. Mrs. Travers 
followed him into the boat where the Malays stared in 
silence while Jorgenson, stiff and angular, gave no sign of 
life, not even so much as a movement of the eyes. Lingard 
settled her in the stern sheets and sat down by her side. 
The ardent sunshine devoured all colours. The boat swam 
forward on the glare heading for the strip of coral beach daz- 
zling hke a crescent of metal raised to a white heat. They 
landed. Gravely, Jorgenson opened above Mrs. Travers' 
head a big white cotton parasol and she advanced between 
the two men, dazed, as if in a dream and having no other 
contact with the earth but through the soles of her feet. 


Everything was still, empty, incandescent, and fantastic. 
Then when the gate of the stockade was thrown open she 
perceived an expectant and still multitude of bronze figures 
draped in coloured stuffs. They crowded the patches of 
shade under the three lofty forest trees left within the en- 
closure between the sun-smitten empty spaces of hard- 
baked ground. The broad blades of the spears decorated 
with crimson tufts of horse-hair had a cool gleam under the 
outspread boughs. To the left a group of buildings on piles 
with long verandahs and immense roofs towered high in the 
air above the heads of the crowd, and seemed to float in the 
glare, looking much less substantial than their heavy shadows. 
Lingard, pointing to one of the smallest, said in an undertone, 
"I lived there for a fortnight when I first came to see Bela- 
rab"; and Mrs. Travers felt more than ever as if walking 
in a dream when she perceived beyond the rails of its ver- 
andah and visible from head to foot two figures in an armour 
of chain mail with pointed steel helmets crested with white 
and black feathers and guarding the closed door. A high 
bench draped in turkey cloth stood in an open space of the 
great audience shed. Lingard led her up to it, Jorgenson on 
her other side closed the parasol calmly and when she sat 
down between them the whole throng before her eyes sank 
to the ground with one accord disclosing in the distance of 
the courtyard a lonely figure leaning against the smooth 
trunk of a tree. A white cloth was fastened round his head 
by a yellow cord. Its pointed ends fell on his shoulders, 
framing a thin dark face with large eyes, a silk cloak, striped 
black and white, fell to his feet, and in the distance he looked 
aloof and mysterious in his erect and careless attitude sug- 
gesting assurance and power. 

Lingard, bending slightly, whispered into Mrs. Travers' 
ear that that man, apart and dominating the scene, was 
Daman, the supreme leader of the Illanuns, the one who 
had ordered the capture of those gentlemen in order per- 
haps to force his hand. The two barbarous, half-naked 
figures covered with ornaments and charms, squatting at 
his feet with their heads enfolded in crimson and gold hand- 


kerchiefs and with straight swords lying across their knees, 
were the pangerans who carried out the order, and had 
brought the captives into the lagoon. But the two men in 
chain armour on watch outside the door of the small house 
were Belarab's two particular body-guards, who got them- 
selves up in that way only on very great occasions. They 
were the outward and visible sign that the prisoners were in 
Belarab's keeping, and this was good, so far. The pity was 
that the Great Chifef himself was not there. Then Lingard 
assumed a formal pose and Mrs. Travers stared into the 
great courtyard and with rows and rows of faces ranged on 
the ground at her feet felt a httle giddy for a^moment. 

Every movement had died in the crowd. Even the eyes 
were still under the variegated mass of coloured head- 
kerchiefs; while beyond the open gate a noble palm-tree 
looked intensely black against the glitter of the lagoon and the 
pale incandescence of the sky. Mrs. Travers gazing that 
way wondered at the absence of Hassim and Immada. But 
the girl might have been somewhere within one of the houses 
with the ladies of Belarab's stockade. Then suddenly Mrs. 
Travers became aware that another bench had been brought 
out and was already occupied by five men dressed in gor- 
geous silk and embroidered velvets, round-faced and grave. 
Their hands reposed on their knees; but one amongst them 
clad in a white robe and with a large nearly black turban on 
his head leaned forward a little with his chin in his hand. 
His cheeks were sunken and his eyes remained fixed on the 
ground as if to avoid looking at the infidel woman. 

She became aware suddenly of a soft murmur and glanc- 
ing at Lingard she saw him in an attitude of impassive at- 
tention. The momentous negotiation had begim, and it 
went on like this in low undertones with long pauses and in 
the immobility of all the attendants squatting on the ground 
with the distant figure of Daman far off in the shade towering 
over all the assembly. But in him, too, Mrs. Travers could 
not detect the slightest movement while the sHghtly modu- 
lated murmurs went on enveloping her in a feeling of peace. 

The fact that she couldn't understand anything of what 


was said soothed her apprehensions. Sometimes a silence 
fell and Lingard bending towards her would whisper: "It 
isn't so easy," and the stillness would be so perfect that 
she would hear the flutter of a pigeon's wing somewhere high 
up in the great overshadowing trees. And suddenly one of 
the men before her without moving a limb would begin an- 
other speech rendered more mysterious still by the total 
absence of action or play of feature. Only the watchfulness 
of the eyes which showed that the speaker was not commun- 
ing with himself made it clear that this was not a spoken medi- 
tation but a flow of argument directed to Lingard who now 
and then uttered a few words either with a grave or a smiling 
expression. They were always followed by murmurs which 
seemed mostly to her to convey assent; and then a reflective 
silence would reign again and the immobility of the crowd 
would appear more perfect than before. 

When Lingard whispered to her that it was now his turn to 
make a speech Mrs. Travers expected him to get up and as- 
sert himself by some commanding gesture. But he did not. 
He remained seated, only his voice had a vibrating qual- 
ity though he obviously tried to restrain it, and it travelled 
masterfully far into the silence. He spoke a long time 
while the sun climbing the unstained sky shifted the dimin- 
ished shadows of the trees, pouring on the heads of men its 
heat through the thick and motionless foliage. Whenever 
murmurs arose he would stop and glancing fearlessly at the 
assembly waited till they subsided. Once or twice, they 
rose to a loud hum and Mrs. Travers could hear on the 
other side of her Jorgenson muttering something in his 
moustache. Beyond the rows of heads Daman under the 
tree had folded his arms on his breast. The edge of the white 
cloth concealed his forehead and at his feet the two Ulanun 
chiefs, half naked and bedecked with charms and ornaments 
of bright feathers, of shells, with necklaces of teeth, claws 
and shining beads, remained cross-legged with their swords 
across their knees like two bronze idols. Even the plumes 
of their head-dresses stirred not. 

"Sudah! It is finished!" A movement passed along 


all the heads, the seated bodies swayed to and fro. Lingard 
had ceased speaking. He remained seated for a moment 
looking his audience all over and when he stood up together 
with Mrs. Tr avers and Jorgenson the whole assembly rose 
from the ground together and lost its ordered formation. 
Some of Belarab's retainers, young broad-faced fellows, wear- 
ing a sort of uniform of check-patterned sarongs, black silk 
jacket and crimson skuU-caps set at a rakish angle, swaggered 
through the broken groups and ranged themselves in two 
rows before the motionless Daman and his Illanun chiefs in 
martial array. The members of the council who had left their 
bench approached the white people with gentle smiles and def- 
erential movements of the hands. Their bearing was faintly 
propitiatory; only the man in the big turban remained 
fanatically aloof, keeping his eyes fixed on the ground. 

"I have done it," murmured Lingard to Mrs. Travers. — 
"Was it very difEcult?" she asked. — "No," he said, con- 
scious in his heart that he had strained to the fullest extent 
the prestige of his good name and that habit of deference to 
his slightest wish established by the glamour of his wealth 
and the fear of his personality, in this great talk which after 
all had done nothing except putting off the decisive hour. 
He offered Mrs. Travers his arm ready to lead her away, 
but at the last moment did not move. 

With an authoritative gesture Daman had parted the 
ranks of Belarab's young followers with the red skull-caps 
and was seen advancing towards the whites striking into an 
astonished silence all the scattered groups in the courtyard. 
But the broken ranks had closed behind him. The Illanun 
chiefs, for aU their truculent aspect, were much too prudent to 
attempt to move. They had not needed for that the faint 
warning murmur from Daman. He advanced alone. The 
plain hilt of a sword protruded from the open edges of his 
cloak. The parted edges disclosed also the butts of two flint- 
lock pistols. The Koran in a velvet case hung on his breast 
by a red cord of silk. He was pious, magnificent and war- 
like, with calm movements and a straight glance from under 
the hem of the simple piece of linen covering his head. He 


carried himseK rigidly and his bearing had a sort of solenm 
modesty. Lingard said hurriedly to Mrs. Travers that the 
man had met white people before and that, should he attempt 
to shake hands with her, she ought to offer her own covered 
with the end of her scarf.— "Why?" she asked, "Propriety?" 
— "Yes, it will be better," said Lingard and the next moment 
Mrs. Travers felt her enveloped hand pressed gently by 
slender dark fingers and felt extremely oriental herself when, 
with her face muffled to the eyes, she encountered the lust- 
rous black stare of the sea-robbers' leader. It was only for 
an instant, because Daman turned away at once to shake 
hands with Lingard. In the straight, ample folds of his robes 
he looked very slender facing the robust white man. 

"Great is your power," he said, in a pleasant voice. "The 
white men are going to be delivered to you." 

"Yes, they pass into my keeping," said Lingard, return- 
ing the other's bright smile but otherwise looking grim 
enough with the frown which had settled on his forehead 
at Daman's approach. He glanced over his shoulder at a 
group of spearmen escorting the two captives who had come 
down the steps from the hut. At the sight of Daman barring 
as it were Lingard's way they had stopped at some distance 
and had closed round the two white men. Daman also 
glanced dispassionately that way. 

"They were my guests," he murmured. "Please God I 
shall come soon to ask you for them ... as a friend," 
he added after a slight pause. 

"And please God you will not go away empty handed," 
said Lingard, smoothing his brow. "After all you and I were 
not meant to meet only to quarrel. Would you have pre- 
ferred to see them pass into Tengga's keeping? " 

"Tengga is fat and full of wiles," said Daman, disdainfully, 
"a mere shopkeeper smitten by a desire to be a chief. He is 
nothing. But you and I are men that have real power. Yet 
there is a truth that you and I can confess to each other. 
Men's hearts grow quickly discontented. Listen. The 
leaders of men are carried forward in the hands of their fol- 
lowers; and common men's minds are unsteady, their desires 


changeable and their thoughts not to be trusted. You are a 
great chief they say. Do not forget that I am a chief, too, 
and a leader of armed men." 

"I have heard of you, too," said Lingard in a composed 

Daman had cast his eyes down. Suddenly he opened them 
very wide with an effect that startled Mrs. Travers. — "Yes. 
But do you see? " Mrs. Travers, her hand resting lightly on 
Lingard's arm, had the sensation of acting in a gorgeously 
got up play on the brilliantly lighted stage of an exotic opera 
whose accompaniment was not music but the varied strains of 
the all-pervading silence. — "Yes, I see," Lingard replied with 
a surprisingly confidential intonation. "But power, too, 
is in the hands of a great leader." 

Mrs. Travers watched the faint movements of Daman's 
nostrils as though the man were suffering from some powerful 
emotion, while under her fingers Lingard's forearm in its white 
sleeve was as steady as a limb of marble. Without looking at 
him she seemed to feel that with one movement he could 
crush that nervous figure in which lived the breath of the 
great desert haunted by his nomad, camel-riding ancestors. — 
"Power is in the hand of God," he said, all animation dying 
out of his face, and paused to wait for Lingard's " Very true," 
then continued with a fine smile, "but He apportions it 
according to His will for His own purposes, even to those that 
are not of the Faith." 

" Such being the will of God you should harbour no bitter' 
ness against them in your heart." 

The low exclamation, "Against those!" and a slight dis- 
missing gesture of a meagre dark hand out of the folds of 
the cloak were almost understandable to Mrs. Travers in 
the perfection of their melancholy contempt, and gave Lin- 
gard a further insight into the character of the ally secured 
to him by the diplomacy of Belarab. He was only half re- 
assured by this assumption of superior detachment. He 
trusted to the man's self-interest more; for Daman no doubt 
looked to the reconquered kingdom for the reward of dignity 
and ease. His father and grandfather (the men of whom 


JBrgenson had written as having been hanged for an example 
twelve years before) had been friends of Sultans, advisers of 
Rulers, wealthy financiers of the great raiding expeditions of 
the past. It was hatred that had turned Daman into a self- 
made outcast, till Belarab's diplomacy had drawn him out 
from some obscure and uneasy retreat. 

In a few words Lingard assured Daman of the complete 
safety of his followers as long as they themselves made no 
attempt to get possession of the stranded yacht. Lingard 
understood very well that the captiu-e of Travers and d'Al- 
cacer was the result of a sudden fear, a move directed by Da- 
man to secure his own safety. The sight of the stranded 
yacht shook his confidence completely. It was as if the 
secrets of the place had been betrayed. After all, it was 
perhaps a great folly to trust any white man, no matter 
how much he seemed estranged from his own people. 
Daman felt he might have been the victim of a plot. 
Lingard's brig appeared to him a formidable engine of 
war. He did not know what to think and the motive for 
getting hold of the two white men was really the wish 
to secure hostages. Distrusting the fierce impulses of his 
followers he had hastened to put them into Belarab's keeping. 
But everything in the Settlement seemed to him suspicious : 
Belarab's absence, Jorgenson's refusal to make over at once 
the promised supply of arms and ammunition. And now 
that white man had by the power of his speech got them away 
from Belarab's people. So much influence filled Daman 
with wonder and awe. A recluse for many years in the most 
obscure corner of the Archipelago he felt himself surrounded 
by intrigues. But the alliance was a great thing, too. He 
did not want to quarrel. He was quite willing for the time 
being to accept Lingard's assurance that no harm should be- 
fall his people encamped on the sandbanks. Attentive and 
slight, he seemed to let Lingard's deliberate words sink into 
him. The force of that unarmed big man seemed over- 
whelming. He bowed his head slowly. 

"Allah is our refuge," he murmured, accepting the inevit- 


He delighted Mrs. Travers not as a living being but like a 
clever sketch in colours, a vivid rendering of an artist's vision 
of some soul, delicate and fierce. His bright half-smile 
was extraordinary, sharp like clear steel, painfully penetrat- 
ing. Glancing right and left Mrs. Travers saw the whole 
courtyard smitten by the desolating fury of sunshine and 
peopled with shadows, their forms and colours fading in the 
violence of the light. The very brown tones of roof and 
wall dazzled the eye. Then Daman stepped aside. He 
was no longer smiling: and Mxs. Travers advanced with her 
hand on Lingard's arm through a heat so potent that it 
seemed to have a taste, a feel, a smell of its own. She 
moved on as if floating in it with Lingard's support. 

"Where are they?" she asked. 

"They are following us all right," he answered. Lingard 
was so certain that the prisoners would be delivered to him. on 
the beach that he never looked back tUl, after reaching the 
boat, he and Mrs. Travers both turned about. 

The group of spearmen parted right and left, and Mr. 
Travers and d'Alcacer walked forward alone looking unreal 
and odd like their own day-ghosts. Mr. Travers gave no 
sign of being aware of his wife's presence. It was certainly 
a shock to him. Mr. d'Alcacer advanced smiling, as if the 
beach were a drawing-room. 

With a very few paddlers the heavy old European-built 
boat moved slowly over the water that seemed as pale and 
blazing as the sky above. Jorgenson had perched himself 
in the bow. The other four white people sat in the stern 
sheets, the ex-prisoners side by side in the middle. Lingard 
spoke suddenly. 

" I want you both to understand that the trouble is not over 
yet. Nothing is finished. You are out on my bare word." 

While Lingard was speaking Mr. Travers turned his face 
away but d'Alcacer listened courteously. Not another word 
was spoken for the rest of the way. The two gentlemen 
went up the ship's side first. Lingard remained to help Mrs. 
Travers at the foot of the ladder. She pressed his hand 
strongly and looking down at his upturned face: 


"This was a wonderful success," she said. 

For a time the character of his fascinated gaze did not 
change. It was as if she had said nothing. Then he whis- 
pered, admiringly, "You understand everything." 

She moved her eyes away and had to disengage her hand 
to which he clung for a moment, giddy, like a man falling 
out of the world. 


MRS. TRAVERS, acutely aware of Lingard behind 
her, remained gazing over the lagoon. After a 
time he stepped forward and placed himself beside 
her close to the rail. She went on staring at the sheet of 
water turned to deep purple under the sunset sky. 

"Why have you been avoiding me since we came back from 
the stockade.''" she asked in a deadened voice. 

"There is nothing to tell you till Rajah Hassim and his 
sister Immada return with some news," Lingard answered in 
the same tone. "Has my friend succeeded? Will Belarab 
listen to any argimients? Will he consent to come out of his 
shell? Is he on his way back? I wish I knew! . . . 
Not a whisper comes from there! He may have started 
two days ago and he may be now near the outskirts of the 
Settlement. Or he might have gone into camp half way 
down, from some whim or other; or he may be already 
arrived for all I know. We should not have seen him. The 
road from the hills does not lead along the beach." 

He snatched nervously at the long glass and directed it 
at the dark stockade. The sun had sunk behind the forests 
leaving the contour of the tree-tops outlined by a thread of 
gold under a band of delicate green lying across the lower 
sky. Higher up a faint crimson glow faded into the dark- 
ened blue overhead. The shades of the evening deepened 
over the lagoon, clung to the sides of the Emma and to the 
forms of the further shore. Lingard laid the glass down. 

"Mr. d'Alcacer, too, seems to have been avoiding me," said 
Mrs. Travers. "You are on very good terms with him, Cap- 
tain Lingard." 

"He is a very pleasant man," murmured Lingard, absently. 
"But he says funny things sometimes. He inquired the 



other day if there were any playing cards on board, and 
when I asked him if he liked card-playing, just for some- 
thing to say, he told me with that queer smile of his that he 
had read a story of some people condemned to death who 
passed the time before execution playing card games with 
their guards." 

"And what did you say ? " 

" I told him that there were probably cards on board some- 
where — Jorgenson would know. Then I asked him whether 
he looked on me as a jailer. He was quite startled and sorry 
for what he said." 

"It wasn't very kind of you, Captain Lingard." 

"It slipped out awkwardly and we made it up with a 

Mrs. Travers leaned her elbows on the rail and put her 
head into her hands. Every attitude of that woman sur- 
prised Lingard by its enchanting effect upon himself. He 
sighed, and the silence lasted for a long while. 

"I wish I had understood every word that was said that 

"That morning," repeated Lingard. "What morning do 
you mean?" 

" I mean the morning when I walked out of Balarab's stock- 
ade on your arm. Captain Lingard, at the head of the proces- 
sion. It seemed to me that I was walking on a splendid stage 
in a scene from an opera, in a gorgeous show fit to make an 
audience hold its breath. You can't possibly guess how un- 
real all this seemed, and how artificial I felt myself. An 
opera you know. . . ." 

"I know. I was a gold digger at one time. Some of us 
used to come down to Melbourne with our pockets full of 
money. I daresay it was poor enough to what you must 
have seen, but once I went to a show like that. It was 
a story acted to music. AU the people went singing through 
it right to the very end." 

"How it must have jarred on your sense of reality," said 
Mrs. Travers, still not looking at him. "You don't remem- 
ber the name of the opera? " 


"No. I never troubled my head about it. Vie — our 
lot never did." 

"I won't ask you what the story was like. It must have 
appeared to you like the very defiance of all truth. Would 
real people go singing through their life anywhere except in 
a fairy tale?" 

"These people didn't always sing for joy," said Lingard, 
simply. " I don't know much about fairy tales." 

"They are mostly about princesses," murmured Mrs. 

Lingard didn't quite hear. He bent his ear for a moment 
but she wasn't looking at him and he didn't ask her to repeat 
her remark. "Fairy tales are for children, I beheve," he 
said. "But that story with music I am telling you of, Mrs. 
Travers, was not a tale for children. I assure you that 
of the few shows I have seen that one was the most real to me. 
More real than anything in life." 

Mrs. Travers, remembering the fatal inanity of most 
opera Hbrettos, was touched by these words as if there had 
been something pathetic in this readiness of response; as 
if she had heard a starved man talking of the dehght of a 
crust of dry bread. "I suppose you forgot yourself in that 
story, whatever it was," she remarked in a detached tone. 

"Yes, it carried me away. But I suppose you know the 

"No. I never knew anything of the kind, not even when 
I was a chit of a girl." Lingard seemed to accept this 
statement as an assertion of superiority. He inclined his 
head slightly. Moreover, she might have said what she 
liked. What pleased him most was her not looking at him; 
for it enabled him to contemplate with perfect freedom the 
curve of her cheek, her small ear half hidden by the clear 
mesh of fine hairs, the fascination of her uncovered neck. 
And her whole person was an impossible, an amazing and 
solid marvel which somehow was not so much convincing to 
the eye as to something within him that was apparently inde- 
pendent of his senses. Not even for a moment did he think 
of her as remote. Untouchable — possibly ! But remote — no. 


Whether consciously or unconsciously he took her spiritually 
for granted. It was materially that she was a wonder of the 
sort that is at the same time famihar and sacred. 

"No," Mrs. Travers began again, abruptly. "I never 
forgot myseK in a story. It was not in me. I have not even 
been able to forget myself on that morning on shore which 
was part of my own story." 

"You carried yourself first rate," said Lingard, smiKng at 
the nape of her neck, her ear, the film of escaped hair, the 
modelling of the corner of her eye. He could see the flutter 
of the dark eyelashes: and the delicate flush on her cheek had 
rather the effect of scent than of colour. 

"You approved of my behaviour." 

"Just right, I tell you. My word, weren't they all struck 
of a heap when they made out what you were." 

"I ought to feel flattered. I will confess to you that I felt 
only half disguised and was half angry and wholly uncom- 
fortable. What helped me, I suppose, was that I wanted to 
please. . . ." 

"I don't mean to say that they were exactly pleased," 
broke in Lingard, conscientiously. "They were startled 

"I wanted to please you," dropped Mrs. Travers, negh- 
gently. A faint, hoarse and impatient call of a bird was heard 
from the woods as if calling to the oncoming night. Lin- 
gard's face grew hot in the deepening dusk. The delicate 
lemon yellow and ethereal green tints had vanished from 
the sky and the red glow darkened menacingly. The sun 
had set behind the black pall of the forest, no longer edged 
with a line of gold. 

"Yes, I was absurdly self-conscious," continued Mrs. 
Travers in a conversational tone. "And it was the effect of 
these clothes that you made me put on over some of my Euro- 
pean — I almost said disguise; because you know in the pres- 
ent more perfect costume I feel cm-iously at home; and yet 
I can't say that those things really fit me. The sleeves of 
that silk imder-jacket are rather tight. My shoulders feel 
bound, too, and as to the sarong it is scandalously short. 


According to rule it should have been long enough to fall over 
my feet. But I Uke freedom of movement. I have had very- 
little of what I liked in life." 

"I can hardly beheve that," said Lingard. "If it wasn't 
for your saying so. . . ." 

"I wouldn't say so to everybody," she said, turning her 
head for a moment to Lingard and turning it away again to 
the dusk which seemed to come floating over the black la- 
goon. Far away in its depth a couple of feeble lights twinkled; 
it was impossible to say whether on the shore or on the edge 
of the more distant forest. Overhead the stars were begin- 
ning to come out, but faint yet, as if too remote to be re- 
flected in the lagoon. Only to the west a setting planet 
shone through the red fog of the sunset glow. "It was sup- 
posed not to be good for me to have much freedom of action. 
So at least I was told. But I have a suspicion that it was 
only unpleasing to other people." 

"I should have thought," began Lingard, then hesitated 
and stopped. It seemed to him. inconceivable that every- 
body should not have loved to make that woman happy. 
And he was impressed by the bitterness of her tone. Mrs. 
Travers did not seem curious to know what he wanted to 
say and after a time she added, "I don't mean only when 
I was a child. I don't remember that very well. I daresay 
I was very objectionable as a child." 

Lingard tried to imagine her as a child. The idea was 
novel to him. Her perfection seemed to have come into the 
world complete, mature, and without any hesitation or weak- 
ness. He had nothing in his experience that could help him 
to imagine a child of that class. The children he knew played 
about the village street and ran on the beach. He had been 
one of them. He had seen other children, of course, since, 
but he had not been in touch with them except visually and 
they had not been English children. Her childhood like his 
own had been passed in England and that very fact made it 
almost impossible for him to imagine it. He could not even 
tell whether it was in town or in the country, or whether as 
a child she had ever seen the sea. And how could a child of 


that kind be objectionable? But he remembered that a child 
disapproved of could be very unhappy, and he said : 

" I am sorry." 

Mrs. Travers laughed a little. Within the muslin cage 
forms had turned to blurred shadows. Amongst them the 
form of d'Alcacer arose and moved. The systematic or 
else the morbid dumbness of Mr. Travers bored and ex- 
asperated him, though, as a matter of fact, that gentleman's 
speeches had never had the power either to entertain or to 
soothe his mind. 

"It's very nice of you. You have a great capacity for 
sympathy but after all I am not certain on which side your 
sympathies lie. With me, or those much-tried people," said 
Mrs. Travers. 

"With the child," said Lingard, disregarding the bantering 
tone. "A child can have a very bad time of it all to itself." 

"What can you know of it.!*" she asked. 

"I have my own feelings," he answered in some surprise. 

Mrs. Travers, with her back to him, was covered with con- 
fusion. Neither could she depict herself his childhood as 
if he, too, had come into the world in the fullness of his strength 
and his purpose. She discovered a certain naiveness in 
herself and laughed a little. He made no sound. 

"Don't be angry," she said. "I wouldn't dream of laugh- 
ing at your feelings. Indeed yom- feeUngs are the most 
serious thing that ever came in my way. I couldn't help 
laughing at myself — at a funny discovery I made." 

"In the days of your childhood.'"' she heard Lingard's 
deep voice asking after a pause. 

"Oh, no. Ages afterwards. No child could have made 
that discovery. Do you know the greatest difference there 
is between us? It is this: That I have been living since my 
childhood in front of a show and that I never have been taken 
in for a moment by its tinsel and its noise or by anything 
that went on on the stage. Do you understand what I 
mean. Captain Lingard?" 

There was a moment of silence. "What does it matter? 
We are no children now." There was an infinite gentleness 


in Lingard's deep tones. "But if you have been unhap'py 
then don't tell me that it has not been made up to you sin<i:e. 
Surely you have only to make a sign. A woman hke yoti." 

"You think I could frighten the whole world on to its 
knees.'' " 

"No, not frighten." The suggestion of a laugh in the 
deadened voice passed off in a catch of the breath. Then 
he was heard beginning soberly: " Your husband. . . ." 
He hesitated a httle and she took the opportunity to say 
coldly : 

"His name is Mr. Travers." 

Lingard didn't know how to take it. He imagined himself 
to have been guilty of some sort of presumption. But how 
on earth was he to call the man.'' After all he was her hus- 
band. That idea was disagreeable to him because the man 
was also inimical in a particularly unreasonable and galling 
manner. At the same time he was aware that he didn't care 
a bit for his enmity and had an idea that he would not have 
cared for his friendship either. And suddenly he felt very 
much annoyed. 

"Yes. That's the man I mean," he said in a contemp- 
tuous tone. "I don't particularly like the name and I am 
sure I don't want to talk about him more than I can help. 
If he hadn't been your husband I wouldn't have put up 
with his manners for an hour. Do you know what would 
have happened to him if he hadn't been your husband?" 

"No," said Mrs. Travers. "Do you, Captain Lingard?" 

"Not exactly," he admitted. "Something he wouldn't 
have liked, you may be sure." 

"While of course he likes this very much," she observed. 
Lingard gave an abrupt laugh. 

"I don't think it's* in my power to do anything that he 
would hke," he said in a serious tone. "Forgive me my 
frankness, Mrs. Travers, but he makes it very difficult some- 
times for me to keep civil. Whatever I have had to put 
up with in life I have never had to put up with contempt." 

"I quite believe that," said Mrs. Travers. " Don't your 
friends call you King Tom?" 


"Nobody that I care for. I have no friends. Oh,'~yes, 
they tell me that " 

"You have no friends?" 

"Not I," he said with decision. "A man Uke me has no 

"It's quite possible," miu-mured Mrs. Travers to herself. 

"No, not even Jorgenson. Old crazy Jorgenson. He calls 
me King Tom, too. You see what that's worth." " 

"Yes, I see. Or rather I have heard. That poor man 
has no tone and so much depends on that. Now suppose I 
were to call you King Tom now and then between ourselves," 
Mrs. Travers' voice proposed, distantly tentative in the night 
that invested her person with a colourless vagueness of form. 

She waited in the stillness, her elbows on the rail and her 
face in her hands as if she had already forgotten what she 
had said. She heard at her elbow the deep murmur of: 

"Let's hear you say it." 

She never moved the least bit. The sombre lagoon 
sparkled faintly with the reflection of the stars. 

"Oh, yes, I will let you hear it," she said into the starlit 
space in a voice of unaccented gentleness which changed 
subtly as she went on. "I hope you will never regret that 
you came out of yoiu* friendless mystery to speak to me. 
King Tom. How many days ago it was! And here is 
another day gone. Tell me how many more of them there 
must be? Of these blinding days and nights without a 

"Be patient," he murmured. "Don't ask me for the 

"How do you or I know what is possible?" she whispered 
with a strange scorn. "You wouldn't dare guess. But I 
tell you that every day that passes is more impossible to me 
than the day before." 

The passion of that whisper went like a stab into his breast. 
"What am I to tell you?" he murmured, as if with despair. 
"Remember that every sunset makes it a day less. Do you 
think I want you here? " 

A bitter little laugh floated out into the starlight. Mrs. 


Travers heard Lingard move suddenly away from her side. 
She didn't change her pose by a hair's breadth. Presently 
she heard d'Alcacer coming out of the Cage. His cultivated 
voice asked half playfully : 

"Have you had a satisfactory conversation? May I 
be told something of it?" 

"Mr. d'Alcacer, you are curious." 

"Well, in our position, I confess. . . . You are our 
only refuge, remember." 

"You want to know what we were talking about," said 
• Mrs. Travers, altering slowly her position so as to confront 
d'Alcacer whose face was almost undistinguishable. "Oh, 
well, then, we talked about opera, the realities and illusions 
of the stage, of dresses, of people's names, and things of that 

"Nothing of importance" he said, courteously. Mrs. 
Travers moved forward and he stepped to one side. Inside 
the Cage two Malay hands were hanging round lanterns, the 
hght of which fell on Mr. Travers' bowed head as he sat in 
his chair. 

When they were all assembled for the evening meal Jor- 
genson strolled up from nowhere in particular as his habit 
was, and speaking through the muslin announced that 
Captain Lingard begged to be excused from joining the com- 
pany that evening. Then he strolled away. From that 
moment till they got up from the table and the camp bed- 
steads were brought in not twenty words passed between the 
members of the party within the net. The strangeness of 
their situation made all attempts to exchange ideas very 
arduous; and apart from that each had thoughts which 
it was distinctly useless to communicate to the others. 
Mr. Travers had abandoned himself to his sense of injury. 
He did not so much brood as rage inwardly in a dull, dispirited 
way. The impossibility of asserting himself in any manner 
galled his very soul. Mr. d'Alcacer was extremely puzzled. 
Detached in a sense from the life of men p>erhaps as much 
even as Jorgenson himself, he took yet a reasonable interest 
in the course of events and had not lost all his sense of self- 


presenration. Without being able to appreciate the exact 
values of the situation he was not one of those men who are 
ever completely in the dark in any given set of circumstances. 
Without being humorous he was a good-humoured man. 
His habitual, gentle smile was a true expression. More of 
a European than of a Spaniard he had that truly aristocratic 
nature which is inclined to credit every honest man with 
something of its own nobility and in its judgment is altogether 
independent of class feeling. He believed Lingard to be an 
honest man and he never troubled his head to classify him, 
except in the sense that he found him an interesting character. 
He had a sort of esteem for the outward personaUty and the 
bearing of that seaman. He found in him also the distinction 
of being nothing of a type. He was a specimen to be judged 
only by its own worth. With his natural gift of insight 
Mr. d'Alcacer told himself that many overseas adventiu-ers 
of history were probably less worthy because obviously they 
must have been less simple. He didn't, however, impart 
those thoughts formally to Mrs. Travers. In fact he avoided 
discussing Lingard with Mrs. Travers who, he thought, was 
quite intelligent enough to appreciate the exact shade of his 
attitude. If that shade was fine, Mrs. Travers was fine, too; 
and there was no need to discuss the colours of this adventure. 
Moreover, she herself seemed to avoid all direct discussion 
of the Lingard element in their fate. And Mr. d'Alcacer 
was fine enough to be aware that those two seemed to under- 
stand each other in a way that was not obvious even to 
themselves. Whenever he saw them together he was always 
much tempted to observe them. And he yielded to the temp- 
tation. The fact of one's life depending on the phases of an 
obscure action authorizes a certain latitude of behaviour. 
He had seen them together repeatedly, communing openly 
or apart, and there was in their way of joining each other, 
in their poses and their ways of separating, something special 
and characteristic and pertaining to themselves only, as if 
they had been made for each other. 

What he couldn't understand was why Mrs. Travers should 
have put off his natural curiosity as to her latest conference 


with" the man of fate by an incredible statement as to the 
nature of the conversation. Talk about dresses, opera, 
people's names. He couldn't take this seriously. She might 
have invented, he thought, something more plausible; or 
simply have told him that this was not for him to know. 
She ought to have known that he would not have been of- 
fended. Couldn't she have seen already that he accepted 
the complexion of mystery in her relation to that man com- 
pletely, unquestionably; as though it had been something 
preordained from the very beginning of things. But he was 
not annoyed with Mrs. Travers. After all it might have been 
true. She would talk exactly as she liked, and even in- 
credibly, if it so pleased her, and make the man hang on her 
lips. And hkewise she was capable of making the man talk 
about anything by a power of inspiration for reasons simple 
or perverse. Opera! Dresses! Yes — about Shakespeare 
and the musical glasses ! For a mere whim or for the deepest 
purpose. Women worthy of the name were hke that. They 
were very wonderful. They rose to the occasion and some- 
times above the occasion when things were bound to occur 
that would be comic or tragic (as it happened) but generally 
charged with trouble even to innocent beholders. D'Alcacer 
thought these thoughts without bitterness and even without 
irony. With his half -secret social reputation as a man of one 
great passion in a world of mere intrigues he Uked all women. 
He liked them in their sentiment and in their hardness, in 
the tragic character of their foolish or clever impulses, at 
which he looked with a sort of tender seriousness. 

He didn't take a favourable view of the position but he 
considered Mrs. Travers' statement about operas and dresses 
as a warning to keep off the subject. For this reason he re- 
mained silent through the meal. 

When the bustle of clearing away the table was over he 
strolled towards Mrs. Travers and remarked very quietly: 

"I think that in keeping away from us this evening the 
Man of Fate was well inspired. We dined hke a lot of 
Carthusian monks." 

"You allude to oiu" silence?" 


"It was most scrupulous. If we had taken an eternal vow 
we couldn't have kept it better." 

"Did you feel bored?" 

"Pas du tout," d'Alcacer assured her with whimsical 
gravity. "I felt nothing. I sat in a state of blessed vacu- 
ity. I believe I was the happiest of us three. Unless you,'; 
too, Mrs. Travers. ..." 

"It's absolutely no use your fishing for my thoughts, Mr. 
d'Alcacer. If I were to let you see them you would be 

"Thoughts really are but a shape of feehngs. Let me con- 
gratulate you on the impassive mask you can put on those 
horrors you say you nurse in your breast. It was impossible 
to teU anything by your face." 

"You wiU always say flattering things." 

"Madame, my flatteries come from the very bottom of my 
heart. I have given up long ago all desires to please. And 
I was not trying to get at your thoughts. Whatever else 
you may expect from me you may count on my absolute 
respect for your privacy. But I suppose with a mask such 
as you can make for yourself you really don't care. The 
Man of Fate, I noticed, is not nearly as good at it as you are." 

" What a pretentious name. Do you call him by it to his 
face, Mr. d'Alcacer?" 

"No, I haven't the cheek," confessed d'Alcacer, equably. 
"And, besides, it's too momentous for daily use. And he 
is so simple that he might mistake it for a joke and nothing 
could be further from my thoughts. Mrs. Travers, I will 
confess to you that I don't feel jocular in the least. Buti 
what can he know about people of our sort? And when 
I reflect how little people of our sort can know of such a man 
I am quite content to address him as Captain Lingard. It's 
common and soothing and most respectable and satisfactory; 
for Captain is the most empty of all titles. What is a Cap- 
tain? Anybody can be a Captain; and for Lingard it's a 
name like any other. Whereas what he deserves is something 
special, significant and expressive, that would match his 
person, his simple and romantic person." 


He perceived that Mrs. Travers was looking at him in- 
tently. They hastened to turn their eyes away from each 

"He would like your appreciation," Mrs. Travers let 
drop negligently. 

"I am afraid he would despise it." 

"Despise it! Why, that sort of thing is the very breath 
of his nostrils." 

"You seem to understand him, Mrs. Travers. Women 
have a singular capacity for understanding. I mean sub- 
jects that interest them; because when their imagination is 
stimulated they are not afraid of letting it go. A man is more 
mistrustful of himself, but women are born much more reck- 
less. They push on and on under the protection of secrecy 
and silence and the greater the obscurity of what they wish 
to explore the greater their courage." 

"Do you mean seriously to tell me that you consider me 
as a creature of darkness.' " 

"I spoke in general," remonstrated d'Alcacer. "Any- 
thing else would have been an impertinence. Yes, obscurity 
is their best friend. Their daring loves it; but a sudden flash 
of light disconcerts them. Generally speaking, if they don't 
get exactly at the truth they always manage to come pretty 
near to it." 

Mrs. Travers had listened with silent attention and she 
allowed the silence to continue for some time after d'Alcacer 
had ceased. When she spoke it was to say in an unconcerned 
tone that as to this subject she had had special opportunities. 
Her self-possessed interlocutor managed to repress a move- 
ment of real curiosity under an assumption of conventional 
interest. "Indeed!" he exclaimed, politely. "A special 
opportunity. How did you manage to create it?" 

This was too much for Mrs. Travers. "I! Create it!" 
she exclaimed, indignantly, but under her breath. "How 
on earth do you think I could have done it?" 

Mr. d'Alcacer, as if communing with himself, was heard 
to murmur unrepentantly that indeed women seldom 
knew how they had "done it," to which Mrs. Travers in a 


weary tone returned the remark that no two men were dense 
in the same way. To this Mr. d'Alcacer assented without 
difficulty. "Yes, our brand presents more varieties. This, 
from a certain point of view, is obviously to our advantage. 
We interest. . . . Not that I imagine myself interesting 
to you, Mrs. Travers. But what about the Man of Fate? " 

"Oh! yes," breathed out Mrs. Travers. 

"I see! Immensely!" said d'Alcacer in a tone of mys- 
terious understanding. "Was his stupidity so colossal?" 

"It was indistinguishable from great visions that were in 
no sense mean and made up for him a world of his own." 

"I guessed that much," muttered d'Alcacer to himself. 
"But that, you know, Mrs. Travers, that isn't good news at 
all to me. World of dreams, eh? That's very bad, very 
dangerous. It's almost fatal, Mrs. Travers." 

"Why all this dismay? Why do you object to a world of 

"Because I dislike the prospect of being made a sacrifice 
of by those Moors. I am not an optimist like our friend, 
there," he continued in a low tone nodding towards the dis- 
mal figure of Mr. Travers huddled up in the chair. "I 
don't regard all this as a farce and I have discovered in my- 
self a strong objection to having my throat cut by those 
gorgeous barbarians after a lot of fatuous talk. Don't ask me 
why, Mrs. Travers. Put it down to an absurd weakness." 

Mrs. Travers made a slight movement in her chair, raising 
her hands to her head, and in the dim light of the lanterns 
d'Alcacer saw the mass of her clear gleaming hair fall down 
and spread itself over her shoulders. She seized half of it in 
her hands which looked very white and with her head in- 
clined a little on one side she began to make a plait. 

"You are terrifying," he said after watching the movement 
of her fingers for a while. 

"Yes . . ." she accentuated, interrogatively. 

"You have the awfulness of the pre-destined. You, too, 
are the prey of dreams." 

"Not of the Moors, then," she uttered, calmly, beginning 
the other plait. D'Alcacer followed the operation to the end. 


Close against her, her diaphanous shadow on the muslin 
reproduced her sUghtest movements. D'Alcacer turned his 
eyes away. 

"No, no barbarian shall touch you. Because if it comes 
to that I believe he would be capable of killing you himself." 

A minute elapsed before he stole a glance in her direction. 
She was leaning back again, her hands had fallen on her lap 
and her head with a plait of hair on each side of her face, her 
head incredibily changed in character and suggesting some- 
thing medieval, ascetic, drooped dreamily on her breast. 

D'Alcacer waited, holding his breath. She didn't move. 
In the dim gleam of jewelled clasps, the faint sheen of gold 
embroideries and the shimmer of silks she was like a figure 
in a faded painting. Only her neck appeared dazzlingly 
white in the smoky redness of the light. D'Alcacer's wonder 
approached a feeling of awe. He was on the point of moving 
away quietly when Mrs. Travers, without stirring in the 
least, let him hear the words. 

"I have told him that every day seemed more difficult to 
live. Don't you see how impossible this is?" 

D'Alcacer glanced rapidly across to the Cage where Mr. 
Travers seemed to be asleep all in a heap and presenting a 
ruffled appearance Uke a sick bird. Nothing was distinct 
of him but the bald patch on the top of his head. 

"Yes," he murmured, "it is most unfortunate. ... I 
understand your anxiety, Mrs. Travers, but . . ." 

"I am frightened," she said. 

He reflected a moment. "What answer did you get?" 
he asked, softly. 

"The answer was: 'patience.'" 

D'Alcacer laughed a little. — "You may well laugh," 
murmured Mrs. Travers in a tone of anguish. — "That's 
why I did," he whispered. "Patience! Didn't he see the 
horror of it?" — "I don't know. He walked away," said 
Mrs. Travers. She looked immovably at her hands clasped 
in her lap, and then with a burst of distress, "Mr. d'Alcacer, 
what is going to happen?" — "Ah, you are asking yourself 
the question at last. That will happen which cannot be 


avoided; and perhaps you know best what it is." — "No. I 
am still asking myself what he will do." — "Ah, that is not 
for me to know," declared d'Alcacer. "I can't tell you what 
he will do, but I know what will happen to him." — "To him, 
you say! To him!" she cried. — "He will break his heart," 
said d'Alcacer, distinctly, bending a little over the chair 
with a slight gasp at his own audacity — and waited. 

"Croyez-vous ? " came at last from Mrs. Travers in an accent 
so coldly languid that d'Alcacer felt a shudder nm down 
his spine. 

Was it possible that she was that kind of woman, he asked 
himself. Did she see nothing in the world outside herself? 
Was she above the commonest kind of compassion? He 
couldn't suspect Mrs. Travers of stupidity; but she might 
have been heartless and, like some women of her class, quite 
unable to recognize any emotion in the world except her own. 
D'Alcacer was shocked and at the same time he was reUeved 
because he confessed to himself that he had ventm-ed very 
far. However, in her humanity she was not vulgar enough 
to be offended. She was not the slave of small meannesses. 
This thought pleased d'Alcacer who had schooled himself 
not to expect too much from people. But he didn't know 
what to do next. After what he had ventured to say and 
after the manner in which she had met his audacity the only 
thing to do was to change the conversation. Mrs. Travers 
remained perfectly still. "I will pretend that I think she 
is asleep," he thought to himself, meditating a retreat on 

He didn't know that Mrs. Travers was simply trying 
to recover the full command of her faculties. His words had 
given her a terrible shock. After managing to utter this 
defensive "Croyez-vous" which came out of her lips cold and 
faint as if in a last effort of dying strength, she felt herself 
turn rigid and speechless. She was thinking, stiff all over 
with emotion: "d'Alcacer has seen it! How much more 
has he been able to see. " She didn't ask herself that question 
in fear or shame but with a reckless resignation. Out of that 
shock came a sensation of peace. A glowing warmth paased 


through all her limbs. If d'Alcacer had peered by that 
smoky light into her face he might have seen on her lips a 
fatalistic smile come and go. But d'Alcacer would not 
have dreamed of doing such a thing, and, besides, his atten- 
tion just then was drawn in another direction. He had 
heard subdued exclamations, had noticed a stir on the decks 
of the Emma and even some sort of noise outside the ship. 

"These are strange sounds," he said. 

"Yes, I hear," Mrs. Travers murmured, uneasily. 

Vague shapes glided outside the Cage, barefooted, almost 
noiseless, whispering Malay words secretly. 

" It seems as though a boat had come alongside," observed 
d'Alcacer, lending an attentive ear. "I wonder what it 
means. In our position. . . ." 

"It may mean anything," interrupted Mrs. Travers. 

"Jaffir is here," said a voice in the darkness of the after 
end of the ship. Then there were some more words in which 
d'Alcacer's attentive ear caught the word "surat." 

"A message of some sort has come," he said. "They will 
be calling Captain Lingard. I wonder what thoughts or 
what dreams this call will interrupt." He spoke hghtly, 
looking now at Mrs. Travers who had altered her position 
in the chair; and by their tones and attitudes these two might 
have been on board the yacht sailing the sea in perfect safety. 
"You, of course, are the one who will be told. Don't you 
feel a sort of excitement, Mrs. Travers?" 

"I have been lately exhorted to patience," she said in the 
same easy tone. "I can wait and I imagine I will have to 
wait till the morning." 

"It can't be very late yet," he said. "Time with us has 
been standing stiU for ever so long. And yet this may be the 
hour of fate." 

"Is this the feeling you have at this particular moment?" 

"I have had that feeling for a considerable number of 
moments already. At first it was exciting. Now I am only 
moderately anxious. I have employed my time in going 
over all my past life." 

"Can one really do that?" 


"Yes, I can't say I have been bored to extinction. I am 
still alive, as you see; but I have done with that and I feel 
extremely idle. There is only one thing I would like to do. 
I want to find a few words that could convey to you my grati- 
tude for all your friendliness in the past, at the time when you 
let me see so much of you in London. I felt always that you 
took me on my own terms and that so kindly that often I 
felt inclined to think better of myself. But I am afraid I 
am wearying you, Mrs. Travers." 

"I assure you you have never done that — in the past. 
And as to the present moment I beg you not to go away. 
Stay by me please. We are not going to pretend that we 
are sleepy at this early hour." 

D'Alcacer brought a stool close to the long chair and sat 
down on it. "Oh, yes, the possible hour of fate," he said. 
"I have a request to make, Mrs. Travers. I don't ask 
you to betray anything. YiTliat would be the good? The 
issue when it comes will be plain enough. But I should like 
to get a warning, just something that would give me time to 
pull myself together, to compose myself as it were. I want 
you to promise me that if the balance tips against us you will 
give me a sign. You could, for instance, seize the opportunity 
when I am looking at you to put your left hand to yoiu- 
forehead like this. It is a gesture that I have never seen you 
make, and so. . . ." 

"Jorgenson!" Lingard's voice was heard forward where 
the light of a lantern appeared suddenly. Then, after a pause, 
Lingard was heard again "Here!" 

Then the silent minutes began to go by. Mrs. Travers 
reclining in her chair and d'Alcacer sitting on the stool 
waited motionless without a word. Presently through the 
subdued murmurs and agitation pervading the dark deck 
of the Emma Mrs. Travers heard a firm footstep, and, lantern 
in hand, Lingard appeared outside the muslin cage. 

"Will you come out and speak to me?" he said, Joudly. 
"Not you. The lady," he added in an authoritative tone 
as d'Alcacer rose hastily from the stool. "I want Mrs. 


"Of course," muttered d'Alcacer to himself and as he 
opened the door of the Cage to let Mrs. Travers slip through 
he whispered to her, "This is the hour of fate." 

She brushed past him swiftly without the shghtest sign 
that she had heard the words. On the after deck between 
the Cage and the deckhouse Lingard waited lantern in hand. 
Nobody else was visible about; but d'Alcacer felt in the air 
the presence of silent and excited beings hovering outside the 
circle of light. Lingard raised the lantern as JNIrs. Travers 
approached and d'Alcacer heard him say: 

"I have had news which you ought to know. Let us go 
into the deckhouse." 

D'Alcacer saw their heads lighted up by the raised lantern 
surrounded by the depths of shadow with an effect of a mar- 
vellous and symbolic vision. He heard Mrs. Travers say 
"I would rather not hear your news," in a tone that made 
that sensitive observer purse up his Hps in wonder. He 
thought that she was over-wrought, that the situation had 
grown too much for her nerves. But this was not the tone 
of a frightened person. It flashed through his mind that 
she had become self-conscious, and there he stopped in his 
speculation. That friend of women remained discreet even 
in his thoughts. He stepped backward further into the 
Cage and without surprise saw Mrs. Travers follow Lingard 
into the deckhouse. 


IINGAED stood the lantern on the table. Its light 
was very poor. He dropped on to the sea-chest 
-« heavily. He, too, was over-wrought. His flannel 
shirt was open at the neck. He had a broad belt round his 
waist and was without his jacket. Before him, Mrs. Travers, 
straight and tall in the gay silks, cottons and muslins of her 
outlandish dress, with the ends of the scarf thrown over her 
head, hanging down in front of her, looked dimly splendid 
with a black glance out of her white face. He said: 

" Do you, too, want to throw me over? I tell you you can't 
do that now." 

"I wasn't thinking of throwing you over, but I don't 
even know what you mean. There seem to be no end of 
things I can't do. Hadn't you better tell me of something 
that I could do? Have you any idea yourself what you 
want from me ? " 

"You can let me look at you. You can listen to me. 
You can speak to me." 

"Frankly, I have never shirked doing all those things, 
whenever you wanted me to. You have led me. . . ." 

"I led you!" cried Lingard. 

"Oh! It was my fault," she said, without anger. "I 
must have dreamed then that it was you who came to me in 
the dark with the tale of your impossible life. Could I have 
sent you away?" 

"I wish you had. Why didn't you?" 

"Do you want me to tell you that you were irresist- 
ible? How coidd I have sent you away? But you! What 
made you come back to me with your very heart on your 

When Lingard spoke after a time it was in jerky sentences. 



"I didn't stop to think. I had been hurt. I didn't 
think of you people as ladies and gentlemen. I thought of 
you as people whose lives I held in my hand. How was it 
possible to forget you in my trouble? It is your face that I 
brought back with me on board my brig. I dor.'t know why. 
I didn't look at you more than at anybody else. It took me 
all my time to keep my temper down lest it should bum you 
all up. I didn't want to be rude to you people, but I found 
it wasn't very easy because threats were the only argument 
I had. Was I very offensive, Mrs. Travers?" 

She had listened tense and very attentive, almost stern. 
And it was without the slightest change of expression that 
she said : 

"I think that you bore yourself appropriately to the state 
of life to which it has pleased God to call you." 

"What state ? " muttered Lingard to himself. "I am what I 
am. They call me Rajah Laut, King Tom, and such like. 
I think it amused you to hear it, but I can tell you it is no 
joke to have such names fastened on one, even in fun. Those 
very names have in them something which makes all this 
afiFair here no small matter to anybody." 

She stood before him with a set, severe face. — "Did you 
call me out in this alarming manner only to quarrel with 
me?" — "No, but why do you choose this time to tell me 
that my coming for help to you was nothing but impudence 
in your sight? Well, I beg your pardon for intruding on 
your dignity." — "You misunderstood me," said Mrs. Travers, 
without relaxing for a moment her contemplative severity. 
"Such a flattering thing had never happened to me before 
and it will never happen to me again. But believe me, King 
Tom, you did me too much honour. Jorgenson is perfectly 
right in being angry with you for having taken a woman in 
tow." — "He didn't mean to be rude," protested Lingard, 
earnestly. Mrs. Travers didn't even smile at this intrusion 
of a point of manners into the atmosphere of anguish and 
suspense that seemed always to arise between her and this 
man who, sitting on the sea-chest, had raised his eyes to her 
with an air of extreme candour and seemed unable to take 


them off again. She continued to look at him sternly by a 
tremendous effort of will. 

"How changed you are," he murmured. 
He was lost in the depths of the simplest wonder. She 
appeared to him vengeful and as if turned forever into stone 
before his bewildered remorse. Forever. Suddenly Mrs. 
Travers looked round and sat down in the chair. Her 
strength failed her but she remained austere with her hands 
resting on the arms of her seat. Lingard sighed deeply and 
dropped his eyes. She did not dare relax her muscles for 
fear of breaking down altogether and betraying a reckless 
impulse which lurked at the bottom of her dismay, to seize 
the head of d'Alcacer's Man of Fate, press it to her breast 
once, fling it far away, and vanish herself, vanish out of life 
like a wraith. The Man of Fate sat silent and bowed, yet 
with a suggestion of strength in his dejection. " If I don't 
speak," Mrs. Travers said to herself, with great inward calm- 
ness, "I shall burst into tears." She said aloud, "What 
could have happened? What have you dragged me in here 
for? Why don't you tell me your news?" 

"I thought you didn't want to hear. I believe you really 
don't want to. What is all this to you? I believe that you 
don't care anything about what I feel, about what I do and 
how I end. I verily believe that you don't care how you 
end yourself. I believe you never cared for your own or 
anybody's feelings. I don't think it is because you are hard, 
I think it is because you don't know, and don't want to know, 
and are angry with life." 

He flourished an arm recklessly, and Mrs. Travers no- 
ticed for the first time that he held a sheet of paper in 
his hand. 

"Is that your news there? " she asked, significantly. "It's 
diflBcult to imagine that in this wilderness writing can have 
any significance. And who on earth here could send you 
news on paper? Will you let me see it? Could I understand 
it? Is it in Enghsh? Come, King Tom, don't look at me 
in this awful way." 

She got up suddenly, not in indignation but as if at the 


end of her endurance. The jewelled clasps, the gold embroid- 
eries, gleamed elusively amongst the folds of her draperies 
which emitted a mysterious rustle. 

"I can't stand this," she cried. "I can't stand being 
looked at like this. No woman could stand it. No woman 
has ever been looked at like this. What can you see.'' 
Hatred I could understand. What is it you think me cap- 
able of.''" 

"You are very extraordinary," murmured Lingard, who 
had regained his self-possession before that outburst. 

"Very well, and you are extraordinary, too. That's 
understood — here we are both under that curse and having 
to face together whatever may turn up. But who on earth 
could have sent you this \ATiting?" 

"Who?" repeated Lingard. "Why, that young fellow 
that blundered on my brig in the dark, bringing a boatload 
of trouble alongside on that quiet night in Carimata Straits. 
The darkest night I have ever known. An accursed night." 

Mrs. Travers bit her lip, waited a little, then asked 

"What difficulty has he got into now?" 

"Difficulty!" cried Lingard. "He is immensely pleased 
with himself, the young fool. You know, when you sent 
him to talk to me that evening you left the yacht, he came 
with a loaded pistol in his pocket. And now he has gone and 
done it." 

"Done it?" repeated Mrs. Travers, blankly. "Done 

She snatched from l^ingard's unresisting palm the 
sheets of paper. While she was smoothing them Lingard 
moved round and stood close at her elbow. She ran quickly 
over the first lines, then her eyes steadied. At the end she 
drew a quick breath and looked up at Lingard. Their faces 
had never been so close together before and Mrs. Travers had 
a surprising second of a perfectly new sensation. She looked 
away. — "Do you understand what this news means?" he mur- 
mured. Mrs. Travers let her hand fall by hel- side. "Yes," 
she said in a low tone. "The compact is broken." 


Carter had begun his letter without any preliminaries: 

You cleared out in the middle of the night and took the lady 
away with you. You left me no proper orders. But as a sailor- 
man I looked upon myself as left in charge of two ships while within 
half a mile on the sandbank there was more than a hundred piratical 
cut-throats watching me as closely as so many tigers about to leap. 
Days went by without a word of you or the lady. To leave the ships 
outside and go inland to look for you was not to be thought of with 
all those pirates within springing distance. Put yourself in my 
place. Can't you imagine my anxiety, my sleepless nights. Each 
night worse than the night before. And still no word from you. I 
couldn't sit still and worry my head off about things I couldn't un- 
derstand. I am a sailorman. My first duty was to the ships. I 
had to put an end to this impossible situation and I hope you will 
agree that I have done it in a seamanlike way. One misty morning 
I moved the brig nearer the sandbank and directly the mist cleared 
I opened fire on the praus of those savages which were anchored 
in the channel. We aimed wide at first to give those vagabonds that 
were on board a chance to clear out and join their friends camped on 
the sands. I didn't want to kill people. Then we got the long gun 
to bear and in about an hour we had the bottom knocked out of the 
two praus. The savages on the bank howled and screamed at 
every shot. They are mighty angry but I don't care for their anger 
now, for by sinking their praus, I have made them as harmless as a 
flock of lambs. They needn't starve on their sandbank because they 
have two or three dug-outs hauled up on the sand and they may ferry 
themselves and their women to the main-land whenever they like. 

I fancy I have acted as a seaman and as a seaman I intend to go 
on acting. Now I have made the ships safe I shall set about without 
loss of time trying to get the yacht off the mud. When that's done 
I shall arm the boats and proceed inshore to look for you and the 
yacht's gentry, and shan't rest till I know whether any or all of you 
are above the earth yet. 

I hope these words will reach you. Just as we had done the 
business of those praus the man you sent off that night in Carimata 
to stop our chief officer came sailing in from the west with our first 
gig in tow and the boat's crew all well. Your serang tells me he is 
a most trustworthy messenger and that his name is Jaffir. He seems 
only too anxious to try to get to you as soon as possible. I repeat, 
ships and men have been made safe and I don't mean to give you up 
dead or alive. 


"You are quick in taking the point," said Lingard in a 
dull voice, while Mrs. Travers, with the sheet of paper grip- 
ped in her hand, looked into his face with anxious eyes. "He 
has been smart and no mistake." 

"He didn't know," murmured Mrs. Travers. 

"No, he didn't know. But could I take everybody into 
my confidence?" protested Lingard in the same low tone. 
"And yet who else could I trust? It seemed to me that he 
must have understood without being told. But he is too 
young. He may well be proud according to his lights. He 
has done that job outside very smartly — damn his smartness! 
And here we are with all our lives depending on my word — 
which is broken now, Mrs. Travers. It is broken." 

Mrs. Travers nodded at him slightly. 

"They would sooner have expected to see the sun and the 
moon fall out of the sky," Lingard continued with repressed 
fire. Next moment it seemed to havfe gone out of him and 
Mrs. Travers heard him mutter a disconnected phrase. . . . 
"The world down about my ears." 

"What will you do?" she whispered. 

"What will I do?" repeated Lingard, gently. "Oh, yes — 
do. Mrs. Travers, do you see that I am nothing now. Just 

He had lost himself in the contemplation of her face 
turned to him with an expression of awed curiosity. The 
shock of the world coming down about his ears in consequence 
of Carter's smartness was so terrific that it had dulled his 
sensibilities in the manner of a great pain or of a great catas- 
trophe. What was there to look at but that woman's face, 
in a world which had lost its consistency, its shape and its 
promises in a moment. 

Mrs. Travers looked away. She understood that she had 
put to Lingard an impossible question. What was presenting 
itself to her as a problem was to that man a crisis of feehng. 
Obviously Carter's action had broken the compact entered 
into with Daman and she was intelligent enough to under- 
stand that it was the sort of thing that could not be explained 
away. It wasn't horror that she felt, but a sort of consterna- 


tion, something like the discomfiture of people who have 
just missed their train. It was only more intense. The real 
dismay had yet to make its way into her comprehension. 
To Lingard it was a blow struck straight at his heart. 

He was not angry with Carter. The fellow had acted 
like a seaman. Carter's concern was for the ships. In this 
fatality Carter was a mere incident. The real cause of the 
disaster was somewhere else, was other, and more remote. 
And at the same time Lingard could not defend himself from 
a feeling that it was in himself, too, somewhere in the un- 
explored depths of his nature, something fatal and unavoid- 
able. He muttered to himself: 

"No. I am not a lucky man." 

This was but a feeble expression of the discovery of the 
truth that suddenly had come home to him as if driven into 
his breast by a revealing power which had decided that this 
was to be the end of his fling. But he was not the man to 
give himself up to the* examiuation of his own sensations. 
His natural impulse was to grapple with the circumstances 
and that y^as what he was trying to do; but he missed now 
that sense of mastery which is half the battle. Conflict of 
some sort was the very essence of his life. But this was some- 
thing he had never known before. This was a conflict within 
himself. He had to face unsuspected powers, foes that he 
could not go out to meet at the gate. They were within, as 
though he had been betrayed by somebody, by some secret 
enemy. He was ready to look round for that subtle traitor. 
A sort of blankness fell on his mind and he suddenly thought: 
"Why? It's myself." 

Immediately afterwards he had a clear, merciless recollec- 
tion of Hassim and Immada. He saw them far off beyond 
the forests. Oh, yes, they existed — within his breast! 

"That was a night!" he muttered, looking straight at Mrs. 
Travers. He had been looking at her all the time. His 
glance had held her under a spell, but for a whole intermi- 
nable minute he had not been aware of her at all. At 
the murmur of his words she made a slight movement and 
he saw her again. — "What night?" she whispered, timidly. 


like an intruder. She was astonished to see him smile. — 
"Not hke this one," he said. "You made me notice how 
quiet and still it was. Yes. Listen how still it is." 

Both moved their heads slightly and seemed to lend an 
ear. There was not a murmur, sigh, rustle, splash, or footfall. 
No whispers, no tremors, not a sound of any kind. They 
might have been alone on board the Emma, abandoned even 
by the ghost of Captain Jorgenson departed to rejoin the 
Barque Wild Rose on the shore of the Cimmerian sea. — 
"It's like the stillness of the end," said ]\Irs. Travers in a 
low, eqi'.able voice. — "Yes, but that, too, is false," said Lin- 
gard in the same tone. — "I don't understand," Mrs. Travers 
began, hurriedly, after a short silence. "But don't use that 
word. Don't use it, King Tom! It frightens me by its 
mere sound." 

Lingard made no sign. His thoughts were back wdth 
Hassim and Immada. The young chief and his sister had 
gone up country on a Toluntary mission to persuade Belarab 
to return to his stockode and to take up again the direction of 
affairs. They carried urgent messages from Lingard, who 
for Belarab was the very embodiment of truth and force, 
that unquestioned force which had permitted Belarab to 
indulge in all his melancholy hesitations. But those two 
young people had also some personal prestige. Thej' were 
Lingard's heart's friends. They were like his children. But 
besides that, their high birth, their warlike story, their wan- 
derings, adventures and prospects had given them a glamour 
of their own. 

THE very day that Travers and d'Alcacer had come 
on board the Emma Hassim and Immada had departed 
on their mission; for Lingard, of course, could not think 
of leaving the white people alone with Jorgenson. Jorgenson 
was all right, but his ineradicable habit of muttering in his 
moustache about "throwing a lighted match amongst the 
powder barrels " had inspired Lingard with a certain amount 
of mistrust. And, moreover, he didn't want to go away 
from Mrs. Travers. 

It was the only correct inspiration on Carter's part to send 
Jaffir with his report to Lingard. That stout-hearted fighter, 
swimmer and devoted follower of the princely misfortunes 
of Hassim and Immada, had looked upon his mission to catch 
the chief officer of the yacht (which he had received from 
Lingard in Carimata) as a trifling job. It took him a little 
longer than he expected but he had got back to the brig just 
in time to be sent on to Lingard with Carter's letter after a 
couple of hours' rest. He had the story of all the happenings 
from Wasub before he left and though his face preserved his 
grave impassivity, in his heart he didn't like it at all. 

Fearless and wily, Jaffir was the man for difficult missions 
and a born messenger — as he expressed it himself — "to bear 
weighty words between great men." With his unfaihng 
memory he was able to reproduce them exactly, whether 
soft or hard, in council or in private; for he knew no fear. 
With him there was no need for writing which might fall into 
the hands of the enemy. If he died on the way the message 
would die with him. He had also the gift of getting at the 
sense of any situation and an observant eye. He was dis- 
tinctly one of those men from whom trustworthy information 
can be obtained by the leaders of great enterprises. Lingard 



did put several questions to him, but in this instance, of 
course, Jaffir could have only very little to say. Of Carter, 
whom he called the "young one," he said that he looked as 
white men look when they are pleased with themselves; then 
added without waiting for a definite question — "The ships 
out there are now safe enough. Oh, Rajah Laut!" There 
was no elation in his tone. 

Lingard looked at him blankly. When the Greatest of White 
Men remarked that there was yet a price to be paid for that 
safety, Jaffir assented by a "Yes, by Allah!" without losing 
for a moment his grim composiu-e. When told that he would 
be required to go and find his master and the lady Immada 
who were somewhere in the back country, in Belarab's 
travelling camp, he declared himself ready to proceed at once. 
He had eaten his fill and had slept three hours on board 
the brig and he was not tired. When he was young he used 
to get tired sometimes ; but for many years now he had known 
no such weakness. He did not require the boat with paddlers 
in which he had come up into the lagoon. He would go alone 
in a small canoe. This was no time, he remarked, for public- 
ity and ostentation. His pent-up anxiety burst through his 
hps. "It is in my mind, Tuan, that death has not been so 
near them since that night when you came sailing in a black 
cloud and took us all out of the stockade." 

Lingard said nothing but there was in Jaffir a faith in that 
white man which was not easily shaken. "How are you 
going to save them this time, Oh, Rajah Laut?" he asked, 

"Belarab is my friend," murmured Lingard. 

In his anxiety Jaffir was very outspoken. "A man of 
peace!" he exclaimed in a low tone. "Who could be safe 
with a man hke that?" he asked, contemptuously. 

"There is no war," said Lingard. 

"There is suspicion, dread and revenge, and the anger of 
armed men," retorted Jaffir. "You have taken the white 
prisoners out of their hands by the force of your words alone. 
Is that so, Tuan?" 

"Yes," said Lingard. 


"And you have them on board here?" asked Jaffir, with 
a glance over his shoulder at the white and misty structure 
within which by the hght of a small oil flame d'Alcacer and 
Mrs. Travers were just then conversing. 

"Yes, I have them here." 

"Then, Rajah Laut," whispered Jaffir, "you can make all 
safe by giving them back." 

"Can I do that?" were the words breathed out through 
Lingard's lips to the faithful follower of Hassim and Immada. 

"Can you do anything else?" was the whispered retort 
of Jaffir the messenger accustomed to speak frankly to the 
great of the earth. "You are a white man and you can 
have only one word. And now I go." 

A small, rough dug-out belonging to the Emma had been 
brought round to the ladder. A shadowy calash hovering 
respectfully in the darkness of the deck had already cleared 
his throat twice in a warning manner. 

"Yes, Jaffir, go," said Lingard, "and be my friend." 

"I am the friend of a great prince," said the other, sturdily. 
"But you, Rajah-Laut, were even greater. And great you 
will remain while you are with us, people of this sea and of 
this land. But what becomes of the strength of your arms 
before your own white people? Where does it go to, I say? 
Well, then, we must trust in the strength of your heart." 

"I hope that will never fail," said Lingard, and Jaffir 
emitted a grunt of satisfaction. "But God alone sees into 
men's hearts." 

"Yes. Our refuge is with Allah," assented Jaffir, who had 
acquired the habit of pious turns of speech in the frequenta- 
tion of professedly religious men, of whom there were many 
in Belarab's stockade. As a matter of fact, he reposed all his 
trust in Lingard who had with him the prestige of a providen- 
tial man sent at the hour of need by heaven itself. He waited 
awhile, then: "What is the message I am to take?" he asked. 

"Tell the whole tale to the Rajah Hassim," said Lingard. 
"And tell him to make his way here with the lady his sister 
secretly and with speed. The time of great trouble has come. 
Let us, at least, be together." 


"Right! Right!" JafBr approved, heartily. "To die 
alone under tlie weight of one's enemies is a dreadful fate." 

He stepped back out of the sheen of the lamp by which 
they had been talking and making his way down int6 the 
small canoe he took up a paddle and without a splash van- 
ished on the dark lagoon. 

It was then that Mrs. Travers and d'Alcacer heard Lingard 
call aloud for Jbrgenson. Instantly the famihar shadow 
stood at Lingard's elbow and listened in detached silence. 
Only at the end of the tale it m.arvelled audibly : "Here's 
a mess for you if you like." But really nothing in the world 
could astonish or startle old Jorgenson. He turned away 
muttering in his moustache. Lingard remained with his 
chin in his hand and Jaffir's last words took gradual posses- 
sion of his mind. Then brusquely he picked up the lamp 
and went to seek Mrs. Travers. He went to seek her be- 
cause he actually needed her bodily presence, the sound of 
her voice, the dark, clear glance of her eyes. She could do 
nothing for him. On his way he became aware that Jorgen- 
son had turned out the few Malays on board the Emma and 
was disposing them about the decks to watch the lagoon in all 
directions. On calling Mrs. Travers out of the Cage Lingard 
was, in the midst of his mental struggle, conscious of a certain 
satisfaction in taking her away from d'Alcacer. He couldn't 
spare any of her attention to any other man, not the least 
crumb of her time, not the least particle of her thought! 
He needed it all. To see it withdrawn from him for the 
merest instant was irritating — seemed a disaster. 

D'Alcacer, left alone, wondered at the imperious tone of 
Lingard's call. To this observer of shades the fact seemed 
considerable. "Sheer nerves," he concluded, to himself. 
"The man is overstrung. He must have had some sort of 
shock." But what could it be — he wondered to himself. 
In the tense stagnation of those days of waiting the slightest 
tremor had an enormous importance. D'Alcacer did not 
seek his camp bedstead. He didn't even sit down. With 
the palms of his hands against the edge of the table he leaned 
back against it. In that negligent attitude he preserved an 


alert mind which for a moment wondered whether Mrs. 
Travers had not spoiled Lingard a httle. Yet in the sud- 
denness of the forced association, where, too, d'Alcacer was 
sure there was some moral problem in the background, he 
recognized the extreme difficulty of weighing accurately the 
imperious demands against the necessary reservations, the 
exact proportions of boldness and caution. And d'Alcacer 
admired upon the whole Mrs. Travers' cleverness. 

There could be no doubt that she had the situation in 
her hands. That, of course, did not mean safety. She had it 
in her hands as one may hold some highly explosive and un- 
certain compound. D'Alcacer thought of her with profound 
sympathy and with a quite unselfish interest. Sometimes 
in a street we cross the path of personalities compelling 
sympathy and wonder but for all that we don't follow them 
home. D'Alcacer refrained from following Mrs. Travers 
any further. He had become suddenly aware that Mr. 
Travers was sitting up on his camp bedstead. He must 
have done it very suddenly. Only a moment before he had 
appeared plunged in the deepest slumber, and the stillness 
for a long time now had been perfectly unbroken. D'Alcacer 
was startled enough for an exclamation and Mr. Travers 
turned his head slowly in his direction. D'Alcacer ap- 
proached the bedstead with a certain reluctance. 

"Awake?" he said. 

"A sudden chill," said Mr. Travers. "But I don't feel 
cold now. Strange ! I had the impression of an icy blast." 

"Ah!" said d'Alcacer. 

"Impossible, of course!" went on Mr. Travers. "This 
stagnating air never moves. It clings odiously to one. 
What time is it?" 

"Really, I don't know." 

"The glass of my watch was smashed on that night when 
we were so treacherously assailed by the savages on the sand- 
bank," grumbled Mr. Travers. 

"I must say I was never so surprised in my life," con- 
fessed d'Alcacer. "We had stopped and I was hghting a 
cigar, you may remember." 


"No," said Mr. Travers. "I had just then pulled out 
my watch. Of course it flew out of my hand but it hung by 
the chain. Somebody trampled on it. The Lnnds are broken 
off short. It keeps on ticking but I can't tell the time. It's 
absurd. Most provoking." 

"Do you mean to say," asked d'Alcacer, "that you have 
been winding it up every evening? " 

Mr. Travers looked up from his bedstead and he also 
seemed surprised. "Why! I suppose I have." He kept 
silent for a while. "It isn't so much blind habit as you may 
think. My habits are the outcome of strict mt.ihod. I 
had to order my life methodically. You know very weU, 
my dear d'Alcacer, that without strict method I would not 
have been able to get through my work and would have had 
no time at all for social duties, which, of course, are of very 
great importance. I may say that, materially, method has 
been the foundation of my success in public life. There 
were never any empty moments in my day. And now 
this! . . . ." He looked all round the Cage. . . . 
"Where's my wife.''" he asked. 

"I was talking to her only a moment ago," answered 
d'Alcacer. "I don't know the time. My watch is on board 
the yacht; but it isn't late, you know." 

Mr. Travers flung off with unwonted briskness the light 
cotton sheet which covered him. He buttoned hastily the 
tunic which he had unfastened before lying down and just 
as d'Alcacer was expecting him to swing his feet to the deck 
impetuously, he lay down again on the piUow and remained 
perfectly still. 

D'Alcacer waited awhile and then began to pace the 
Cage. After a couple of turns he stopped and said, gently: 

"I am afraid, Travers, you are not very well." 

"I don't know what illness is," answered the voice from 
the pillow to the great relief of d'Alcacer who really had 
not expected an answer. "Good health is a great asset in 
public life. Illness may make you miss a unique opportunity. 
I was never ill." 

All this came out deadened in tone, as if the speaker's face 


had been buried in the pillow. D'Alcacer resumed his 

"I think I asked you where my wife was," said the muffled 

With great presence of mind d'Alcacer kept on pacing the 
Cage as if he had not heard. — "You know, I think she is 
mad," went on the muffled voice. "Unless I am." 

Again d'Alcacer managed not to interrupt his regular 
pacing. "Do you know what I think?" he said, abruptly. 
"I think, Travers, that you don't want to talk about her. I 
think that you don't want to talk about anything. And to 
tell you the truth I don't want to, either." 

D'Alcacer caught a faint sigh from the pillow and at the 
same time saw a small, dim flame appear outside the Cage. 
And s' ill he kept on his pacing. Mrs. Travers and Lingard 
coming out of the deckhouse stopped just outside the door 
and Lingard stood the deck-lamp on its roof. They were 
too far from d'Alcacer to be heard, but he could make them 
out: Mrs. Travers, as straight as an arrow, and the heavy 
bulk of the man who faced her with a lowered head. He saw 
it in profile against the light and as if deferential in its slight 
droop. They were looking straight at each other. Neither 
of them made the slightest gesture. 

"There is that in me," Lingard murmured, deeply, "which 
would set my heart harder than a stone. I am King Tom, 
Rajah Laut, and fit to look any man hereabouts in the face. 
I have my name to take care of. Everything rests on that." 

"Mr. d'Alcacer would express this by saying that every- 
thing rested on honour," commented Mrs. Travers with lips 
that did not tremble, though from time to time she could 
feel the accelerated beating of her heart. 

" Call it what you like. It's something that a man needs 
to draw a free breath. And look! — as you see me standing 
before you here I care for it no longer." 

"But I do care for it," retorted Mrs. Travers. "As you 
see me standing here — I do care. This is something that 
is your very own. You have a right to it. And I repeat 
I do care for it." 


"Care for something of my own," murmured Lingard, very 
close to her face. "Why should you care for my rights?" 

"Because," she said, holding her ground though their 
foreheads were nearly touching, "because if I ever get back 
to my life I don't want to make it more absurd by real 

Her tone was soft and Lingard received the breath of those 
words like a caress on his face. D'Alcacer, in the Cage, made 
still another effort to keep up his pacing. He didn't want 
to give Mr. Travers the slightest excuse for sitting up again 
and looking round. 

"That I should live to hear anybody say they cared any- 
thing for what was mine ! " whispered Lingard. "And that it 
should be you — you, who have taken all hardness out of me." 

"I don't want your heart to be made hard. I want it to 
be made firm." 

"You couldn't have said anything better than what 
you have said just now to make it steady," flowed the 
murmur of Lingard's voice with something tender in its 
depth. "Has anybody ever had a friend like this?" he 
exclaimed, raising his head as if taking the starry night to 

"And I ask myself is it possible that there should be 
i another man on earth that I could trust as I trust you. I 
;' say to you : Yes ! Go and save what you have a right to 
and don't forget to be merciful. I will not remind you of 
our perfect innocence. The earth must be small indeed 
that we should have blundered like this into your life. It's 
enough to make one believe in fatality. But I can't find it 
in me to behave like a fatalist, to sit down with folded hands. 
Had you been another kind of man I might have been too 
hopeless or too disdainful. Do you know what Mr. d'Alcacer 
calls you?" 

Inside the Cage d'Alcacer, casting curious glances in their 
direction, saw Lingard shake his head and thought with slight 
uneasiness: "He is refusing her something." 

"Mr. d'Alcacer's name for you is the 'Man of Fate'," 
said Mrs. Travers, a little breathlessly. 


"A mouthful. Never mind, he is a gentleman. It's what 
you. . . ." 

"I call you all but by yom- christian name," said Mrs. 
Travers, hastily. "Believe me, Mr. d'Alcacer understands 

"He is all right," interjected Lingard. 

"And he is innocent. I remember what you have said — 
that the innocent must take their chance. Well, then, do 
what is right." 

"You think it would be right? You beUeve it.'' You 
feel it?" 

" At this time, in this place, from a man like you Yes, 

it is right." 

Lingard thought that womaii. wonderfully true to him and 
wonderfully fearless with herself. The necessity to take 
back the two captives to the stockade was so clear and un- 
avoidable now, that he believed nothing on earth could have 
stopped him from doing so, but where was there another 
woman in the world who would have taken it like this? And 
he reflected that in truth and courage there is found wisdom. 
It seemed to him that till Mrs. Travers came to stand by his 
side he had never known what truth and courage and wisdom 
were. With his eyes on her face and having been told that 
in her eyes he appeared worthy of being both commanded 
and entreated, he felt an instant of complete content, a mo- 
ment of, as it were, perfect emotional repose. 

During the silence Mrs. Travers with a quick side-glance 
noticed d'Alcacer as one sees a man in a mist, his mere dark 
shape arrested close to the muslin screen. She had no 
doubt that he was looking in their direction and that he 
could see them much more plainly than she could see him. 
Mrs. Travers thought suddenly how anxious he must be; 
and she remembered that he had begged her for some sign, 
for some warning, beforehand, at the moment of crisis. She 
had understood very well his hinted request for time to get 
prepared. If he was to get more than a few minutes, this 
was the moment to make him a sign — the sign he had sug- 
gested himself. Mrs. Travers moved back the least bit so 


as to let the light fall in front of her and with a slow, dis- 
tinct movement she put her left hand to her forehead. . ' 

"Well, then," she heard Lingard's forcible murmur, '^'well, 
then, Mrs. Travers, it must be done to-night." ,'\ 

One may be true, fearless and wise, and yet cal^h one's 
breath before the simple finality of action. Mrs.' Travers 
caught her breath : "To-night! To-night !" she whispered. 
D'Alcacer's dark and misty silhouette became more blurred. 
He had seen her sign and had retreated deeper within the 

"Yes, to-night," affirmed Lingard. "Now, at once, 
within the hour, this moment," he murmured, fiercely, follow- 
ing Mrs. Travers in her recoiling movement. She felt her 
arm being seized swiftly. "Don't you see that if it is to 
do any good, that if they are not to be delivered to mere 
slaughter, it must be done while all is dark ashore? before 
an armed mob in boats comes clamouring alongside. Yes. 
Before the night is an hour older, so that I may be hammering 
at Belarab's gate while all the Settlement is still asleep." 

Mrs. Travers didn't dream of protesting. For the moment 
she was unable to speak. This man was very fierce and 
just as suddenly as it had been gripped (making her think in- 
congruously in the midst of her agitation that there would be 
certainly a bruise there in the morning) she felt her arm 
released and a penitential tone come into Lingard's murmur- 
ing voice. 

"And even now it's nearly too late! The road was plain 
but I saw you on it and my heart failed me. I was 
there like an empty man and I dared not face you. You 
must forgive me. No, I had no right to doubt you for a 
moment. I feel as if I ought to go on my knees and beg your 
pardon for forgetting what you are, for daring to forget." 

" Why, King Tom, what is it? " 

" It seems as if I had sinned," she heard him say. He seized 
her by the shoulders, turned her about, moved her forward 
a step or two. His hands were heavy, his force irresistible, 
though he himself imagined he was handling her gently. 
"Look straight before you," he growled into her ear. "Do 


you see anything?" Mrs. Travers, passive between the 
rigid arms, could see nothing but, far off, the massed, feature- 
less shadows of the shore. 

"No, I see nothing," she said. 

"You can't be looking the right way," she heard him 
behind her. And now she felt her head between Lingard's 
hands. He moved it the least bit to the right. "There! 
See it?" 

"No. What am I to look for? " 

"A gleam of light," said Lingard, taking away his hands 
suddenly. "A gleam that will grow into a blaze before our 
boat can get half way across the lagoon." 

Even as Lingard spoke Mrs. Travers caught sight of a 
red spark far away. She had looked often enough at the 
Settlement, as on the face of a painting on a curtain, to have 
its configuration fixed in her mind, to know that it was on 
the beach at its end furthest from Belarab's stockade. 

"The brushwood is catching," murmured Lingard in her 
ear. "If they had some dry grass the whole pile would be 
blazing by now." 

"And this means. . . ." 

"It means that the news has spread. And it is before 
Tengga's enclosiu-e on his end of the beach. That's where 
all the brains of the Settlement are. It means talk and ex- 
citement and plenty of crafty words. Tengga's fire! I tell 
you, Mrs. Travers, that before half an hour has passed 
Daman will be there to make friends with the fat Tengga, 
who is ready to say to him 'I told you so.' " 

"I see," murmured Mrs. Travers. Lingard drew her 
gently to the rail. 

"And now look over there at the other end of the beach 
where the shadows are heaviest. That is Belarab's fort, his 
houses, his treasure, his dependents. That's where the 
strength of the Settlement is. I kept it up. I made it last. 
But what is it now? It's like a weapon in the hand of a 
dead man. And yet it's all we have to look to, if indeed 
there is still time. I swear to you I wouldn't dare land them 
in dayUght for fear they should be slaughtered on the beach." 


"There is no time to lose," whispered Mrs. Travers, and 
Lingard, too, spoke very low. 

"No, not if I, too, am to keep what is my right. It's you 
who have said it." 

"Yes, I have said it," she whispered, without lifting her 
head. Lingard made a brusque movement at her elbow and 
bent his head close to her shoulder. 

"And I who mistrusted you! Like Arabs do to their great 
men, I ought to kiss the hem of your robe in repentance for 
having doubted the greatness of your heart." 

"Oh! my heart!" said Mrs. Travers, lightly, still gazing 
at the fire, which had suddenly shot up to a tall blaze. "I 
can assure you it has been of very little account in the world." 
She paused for a moment to steady her voice, then said, 
firmly, "Let's get this over." 

"To tell you the truth the boat has been ready for some 

"Well, then. . . ." 

"Mrs. Travers," said Lingard with an effort, "they are 
people of your own kind." And suddenly he burst out: "I 
cannot take them ashore bound hand and foot." 

"Mr. d'Alcacer knows. You will find him ready. Ever 
since the beginning he has been prepared for whatever 
might happen." 

"He is a man," said Lingard with conviction. "But it's 
of the other that I am thinking." 

"Ah, the other," she repeated. "Then, what about my 
thoughts? Luckily we have Mr. d'Alcacer. I shall speak 
to him first." 

She turned away from the rail and moved towards the Cage. 

"Jorgenson," the voice of Lingard resounded all along 
the deck, "get a light on the gangway." Then he followed 
Mrs. Travers slowly. 


D'ALCACER, after receiving his warning, stepped back 
and leaned again against the edge of the table. He 
could not ignore in himself a certain emotion. And 
indeed, when he had asked Mrs. Travers for a sign he expected 
to be moved — but he had not expected the sign to come so 
soon. He expected this night to pass like other nights, in 
broken slumbers, bodily discomfort and the imrest of dis- 
connected thinking. At the same time he was surprised at 
his own emotion. He had flattered himself on the possession 
of more philosophy. He thought that this famous sense 
of self-preservation was a queer thing, a purely animal thing. 
"For, as a thinking man," he reflected, "I really ought not 
to care." It was probably the unusual that affected him. 
Clearly. If he had been lying seriously ill in a room in a 
hotel and had overheard some ominous whispers he would 
not have cared in the least. Ah, but then he would have 
been ill — and in illness one grows so indifferent. Illness is a 
great help to unemotional behaviour, which of course is the 
correct behaviour for a man of the world. He almost re- 
gretted he was not very ill. But, then, Mr. Travers was 
obviously ill and it did not seem to help him much. D'Al- 
cacer glanced at the bedstead where Mr. Travers preserved 
an immobility which struck d'Alcacer as obviously affected. 
He mistrusted it. Generally be mistrusted Mr. Travers. 
One couldn't tell what he would do next. Not that he 
could do much one way or another, but that somehow he 
threatened to rob the situation of whatever dignity it may 
have had as a stroke of fate, as a call on courage. Mr. 
d'Alcacer, acutely observant and alert for the slightest hints, 
preferred to look upon himself as the victim not of a swindle 
but of a rough man naively engaged in a contest with Heaven's 



injustice. D'Alcacer did not examine his heart, but some 
lines of a French poet came into his mind, to the effect that in 
all times those who fought with an unjust Heaven had pos- 
sessed the secret admiration and love of men. He didn't go so 
far as love but he could not deny to himself that his feeling 
towards Lingard was secretly friendly and — well, appreciative. 
Mr. Travers sat up suddenly. What a horrible nuisance, 
thought d'Alcacer, fixing his eyes on the tips of his shoes with 
the hope that perhaps the other would lie down again. Mr. 
Travers spoke. 

"Still up, d'Alcacer?" 

"I assure you it isn't late. It's dark at six, we dined 
before seven, that makes the night long and I am not a 
very good sleeper; that is, I cannot go to sleep tiU late in 
the night." 

"I envy you," said Mr. Travers, speaking with a sort of 
drowsy apathy. " I am always dropping off and the awaken- 
ings are horrible." 

D'Alcacer, raising his eyes, noticed that Mrs. Travers and 
Lingard had vanished from the light. They had gone to the 
rail where d'Alcacer could not see them. Some pity mingled 
with his vexation at Mr. Tr.-ivers' snatchy wakefulness. 
There was something weird about the man, he reflected. 
"Jorgenson," he began aloud. 

"What's that?" snapped Mr. Travers. 

" It's the name of that lanlvy old store-keeper who is always 
about the decks." 

"I haven't seen him. I don't see anybody. I don't 
know anybody. I prefer not to notice." 

"I was only going to say that he gave me a pack of cards; 
would you like a game of piquet? " 

"I don't think I could keep my eyes open," said Mr. 
Travers in an unexpectedly confidential tone. "Isn't it 
funny, d'Alcacer. And then I wake up. It's too awful." 

D'Alcacer made no remark and Mr. Travers seemed not to 
have expected any. 

"When I said my wife was mad," he began, suddenly, 
causing d'Alcacer to start, "I didn't mean it literally, of 


course." His tone sounded slightly dogmatic and he didn't 
seem to be aware of any interval during which he had 
appeared to sleep. D'Alcacer was convinced more than ever 
that he had been shamming, and resigned himself wearily 
to listen, folding his arms across his chest. " What I meant, 
really," continued Mr. Travers, "was that she is the victim 
of a craze. Society is subject to crazes, as you know very 
well. They are not reprehensible in themselves but the worst 
of my wife is that her crazes are never like those of the people 
with whom she naturally associates. They generally run 
coimter to them. This peculiarity has given me some 
anxiety, you understand, in the position we occupy. People 
will begin to say that she is eccentric. Do you see her 
anywhere, d'Alcacer?" 

D'Alcacer was thankful to be able to say that he didn't 
see Mrs. Travers. He didn't even hear any murmurs though 
he had no doubt that everybody on board the Emma was 
wide awake by now. But Mr. Travers inspiried him with in- 
vincible mistrust and he thought it prudent to add : 

"You forget that your wife has a room in the deckhouse." 

This was as far as he would go, for he knew very well that 
she was not in the deckhouse. Mr. Travers, completely 
convinced by the statement, made no sound. But neither did 
he lie down again. D'Alcacer gave himself up to meditation. 
The night seemed extremely oppressive. At Lingard's 
shout for Jorgenson, that in the profound silence struck his 
ears ominously, he raised his eyes and saw Mrs. Travers 
outside the door of the Cage. He started forward but she 
was already within. He saw she was moved. She seemed 
out of breath and as if unable to speak at first. 

"Hadn't we better shut the door?" suggested d'Alcacer. 

"Captain Lingard's coming in," she whispered to him. 
"He has made up his mind." 

"That's an excellent thing," commented d'Alcacer, quietly. 
"I conclude from this that we shall hear something." 

"You shall hear it all from me," breathed out Mrs. Travers. 

"Ah!" exclaimed d'Alcacer very low. 

By that time Lingard had entered, too, and the decks of the 


Emma were all astir with moving figures. Jorgenson's voice 
was also heard giving directions. For nearly a minute the 
four persons within the Cage remained motionless. A 
shadowy Malay in the gangway said suddenly: "Sudah 
Tuan, " and Lingard murmured, "Ready, Mrs. Travers." 

She seized d'Alcacer's arm and led him to the side of the 
Cage furthest from the corner in which Mr. Travers' bed was 
placed, while Lingard busied himself in pricking up the wick 
of the Cage lantern as if it had suddenly occurred to him that 
this, whatever happened, should not be a deed of darkness. 
Mr. Travers did nothing but turn his head to look over his 

"One moment," said d'Alcacer, in a low tone and smiling 
at Mrs. Travers' agitation. "Before you tell me anything 
let me ask you: 'Have you made up your mind.'''" He 
saw with much siu-prise a widening of her eyes. Was it 
indignation? A pause as of suspicion fell between those two 
people. Then d'Alcacer said apologetically, " Perhaps I ought 
not to have asked that question," and Lingard caught Mrs. 
Travers' words, "Oh, I am not afraid to answer that ques- 

Then their voices sank. Lingard hung the lamp up again 
and stood idle in the revived light; but almost immediately 
he heard d'Alcacer calhng him discreetly. 

"Captain Lingard!" 

He moved towards them at once. At the same instant Mr. 
Travers' head pivoted away from the group to its frontal 

D'Alcacer, very serious, spoke in a familiar tindertone: 
"Mrs. Travers tells me that we must be delivered up to those 
Moors on shore." 

"Yes, there is nothing else for it," said Lingard. 

"I confess I am a bit startled," said d'Alcacer; but except 
for a slightly hurried utterance nobody could have guessed 
at anything resembling emotion. 

"I have a right to my good name," said Lingard, also very 
calm, while Mrs. Travers near him, with half-veiled eyes, 
listened impassive like a presiding genius. 


"I wouldn't question that for a moment," conceded 
d'Alcacer. "A point of honour is not to be discussed. But 
there is such a thing as humanity, too. To be delivered up 
helplessly. . . ." 

"Perhaps!" interrupted Lingard. "But you needn't 
feel hopeless. I am not at liberty to give up my life 
for your own. Mrs. Travers knows why. That, too, is 

"Always on your honour." 

"I don't know. A promise is a promise." 

"Nobody can be held to the impossible," remarked d'Al- 

"Impossible! What is impossible? I don't know it. 
I am not a man to talk of the impossible or dodge behind it. 
I did not bring you here." 

D'Alcacer lowered his head for a moment. "I have 
finished," he said, gravely. "That much I had to say. I 
hope you don't think I have appeared unduly anxious." 

"It's the best policy to," Mrs. Travers made herself heard 
suddenly. Nothing of her moved but her lips, she did not 
even raise her eyes. "It's the only possible policy. You 
beheve me, Mr. d'Alcacer? . . ." He made an almost 
imperceptible movement of the head. . . . "Well, 
then, I put all my hope in you, Mr. d'Alcacer, to get this over 
as easily as possible and save us all from some odious scene. 
You think perhaps that it is I who ought to. . . ." 

"No, no! I don't think so," interrupted d'Alcacer. 
"It would be impossible." 

"I am afraid it would," she admitted, nervously. 

D'Alcacer made a gesture as if to beg her to say no more 
and at once crossed over to Mr. Travers' side of the Cage. 
He did not want to give himself time to think about his task. 
Mr. Travers was sitting up on the camp bedstead with a hght 
cotton sheet over his legs. He stared at nothing, and on 
approaching him d'Alcacer disregarded the slight sinking 
of his own heart at this aspect which seemed to be that of 
extreme terror. "This is awful," he thought. The man 
kept as still as a hare in its form. 


The impressed d'Alcacer had to make an effort to bring 
himself to tap him hghtly on the shoulder. 

"The moment has come, Travers, to show some forti- 
tude," he said with easy intimacy. Mr. Travers looked up 
swiftly. "I have just been talking to your wife. She had 
a communication from Captain Lingard for us both. It re- 
mains for us now to preserve as much as possible our dignity. 
I hope that if necessary we will both know how to die." 

In a moment of profound stillness, d'Alcacer had time to 
wonder whether his face was as stony in expression as the 
one upturned to him. But suddenly a smile appeared on it, 
which was certainly the last thing Mr. d'Alcacer expected 
to see. An indubitable smile. A slightly contemptuous 

"My wife has been stuffing your head with some more of 
her nonsense." Mr. Travers spoke in a voice which aston- 
ished d'Alcacer as much as the smile, a voice that was not 
irritable nor peevish, but had a distinct note of indulgence. 
"My dear d'Alcacer, that craze has got such a hold of her 
that she would tell you any sort of tale. All sorts of vile 
social impostors, mediums, fortune-tellers, charlatans of aU 
sorts do obtain a strange influence over women. You have 
seen that sort of thing yourself. I had a talk with her be- 
fore dinner. The influence that bandit has got over her is 
incredible. I really beheve the fellow is half crazy himself. 
They often are, you know. I gave up arguing with her. 
Now, what is it you have got to tell me? But I warn you 
that I am not going to take it seriously." 

He rejected briskly the cotton sheet, put his feet to the 
ground and buttoned his jacket. D'Alcacer, as he talked, 
became aware by the slight noise behind him that Mrs. 
Travers and Lingard were leaving the Cage, but he went 
on to the end and then waited anxiously for the answer. 

"See! She has followed him out on deck," were Mr. 
Travers' first words. "I hope you understand that it is a 
mere craze. You can't help seeing that. Look at her cos- 
tume. She simply has lost her head. Luckily the world 
needn't know. But suppose that something similar had 


happened at home. It would have been extremely awkward. 
Oh! yes, I will come. I will go anywhere. I can't stand 
this hulk, those people, this infernal Cage. I believe I 
would fall ill if I were to remain here." 

The inward detached voice of Jorgenson made itself heard 
near the gangway saying: "The boat has been waiting for 
this hour past, King Tom." 

"Let us make a virtue of necessity and go with a good 
grace," said d'Alcacer, ready to take Mr. Travers under the 
arm persuasively, for he did not know what to make of that 

But Mr. Travers seemed another man. "I am afraid, 
d'Alcacer, that you, too, are not very strong-minded. I am 
going to take a blanket off this bedstead. . . ." He 
flung it hastily over his arm and followed d'Alcacer closely. 
"What I suffer mostly from, strange to say, is cold." 

Mrs. Travers and Lingard were waiting near the gangway. 
To everybody's extreme surprise Mr. Travers addressed his 
wife first. 

"You were always laughing at people's crazes," was what 
he said, "and now you have a craze of your own. But we 
won't discuss that." 

D'Alcacer passed on, raising his cap to Mrs. Travers and 
went down the ship's side into the boat. Jorgenson had 
vanished in his manner like an exorcised ghost, and Lin- 
gard, stepping back, left husband and wife face to face. 

"Did you think I was going to make a fuss.''" asked Mr. 
Travers in a very low voice. "I assure you I would rather 
go than stay here. You didn't think that? You have lost 
all sense of reality, of probabihty. I was just thinking this 
evening that I would rather be anywhere than here looking 
on at you. At your folly. . . ." 

Mrs. Travers' loud, "Martin!" made Lingard wince, 
caused d'Alcacer to lift his head down there in the boat, and 
even Jorgenson, forward somewhere out of sight, ceased 
mumbling in his moustache. The only person who seemed 
not to have heard that exclamation was Mr. Travers him- 
self, who continued smoothly: 


" . . . at the aberration of your mind, you who seemed 
so superior to common credulities. You are not yourself, 
not at all, and some day you will admit to me that . . . 
No, the best thing will be to forget it, as you will soon see 
yourself. We shall never mention that subject in the future. 
I am certain you will be only too glad to agree with me on 
that point." 

"How far ahead are you looking?" asked Mrs. Travers, 
finding her voice and even the very tone in which she would 
have addressed him had they been about to part in the hall of 
their town house. She might have been asking him at what 
time he expected to be home, while a footman held the door 
open and the brougham waited in the street. 

"Not very far. This can't last much longer." ilr. 
Travers made a movement as if to leave her exactly as though 
he were rather pressed to keep an appointment, " By the 
by," he said, checking himseK, "I suppose the fellow un- 
derstands thoroughly that we are wealthy. He could hardly 
doubt that." 

"It's the last thought that would enter his head," said 
Mrs. Travers. 

"Oh, yes, just so," Mr. Travers allowed a little impatience 
to pierce under his casual manner. "But I don't mind 
telling you that I have had enough of this. I am prepared 
to make — ah! — to make concessions. A large pecuniary 
sacrifice. Only the whole position is so absurd! He 
might conceivably doubt my good faith. Wouldn't it be 
just as well if you, with your particular influence, would hint 
to him that with me he would have nothing to fear.f* I 
am a man of my word." 

"That is the first thing he would naturally think of any 
man," said Mrs. Travers. 

"Will your eyes never be opened?" Mr. Travers began, 
irritably, then gave it up. "Well, so much the better then. 
I give you a freehand." 

"What made you change your attitude like this?" asked 
Mrs. Travers, suspiciously. 

"My regard for you," he answered without hesitation. 


" I intended to join you in your captivity. I was just try- 
ing to persuade him. . . ." 

"I forbid you absolutely," whispered Mr. Travers, forcibly. 
" I am glad to get away. I don't want to see you again till 
your craze is over." 

She was confounded by his secret vehemence. But 
instantly succeeding his fierce whisper came a short, inane 
society laugh and a much louder, "Not that I attach any 
importance . . ." 

He sprang away, as it were, from his wife and as he went 
over the gangway waved his hand to her amiably. 

Lighted dimly by the lantern on the roof of the deckhouse 
Mrs. Travers remained very still with lowered head and an 
aspect of profound meditation. It lasted but an instant 
before she moved off and brushing against Lingard passed 
on with downcast eyes to her deck cabin. Lingard heard 
the door shut. He waited awhile, made a movement towards 
the gangway but checked himself and followed Mrs. Travers 
into her cabin. 

It was pitch dark in there. He could see absolutely 
nothing and was oppressed by the profound stillness unstirred 
even by the sound of breathing. 

"I am going on shore," he began, breaking the black and 
deathlike silence enclosing him and the invisible woman. 
"I wanted to say good-bye." 

"You are going on shore," repeated Mrs. Travers. Her 
voice was emotionless, blank, imringing. 

"Yes, for a few hours, or for life," Lingard said in measured 
tones. " I may have to die with them or maybe for others. 
For you, if I only knew how to manage it, I would want to 
live. I am telling you this because it is dark. If there had 
been a light in here I wouldn't have come in. I would rather 
not see you." 

" I wish you had not ! " uttered the same unringing woman's 
voice. "You are always coming to me with those lives and 
those deaths in your hand." 

"Yes, it's too much for you," was Lingard's comment. 
"You could be no other than true. And you are innocent! 


Don't wish me life, but wish me luck, for you are innocent 
— and you will have to take your chance." 

"All luck to you, King Tom," he heard her say in the 
darkness in which he seemed now to perceive the gleam of 
her hair. "I will take my chance. And try not to come 
near me again for I am weary of you." 

"I can well believe it," murmured Lingard and stepped 
out of the cabin, shutting the door after him gently. For 
half a minute, perhaps, the stillness continued and then sud- 
denly the chair fell over in the darkness. Next moment 
Mrs. Travers' head appeared in the light of the lamp left 
on the roof of the deckhouse. Her bare arms grasped the 
door posts. 

"Wait a moment!" she said, loudly, into the shadows of 
the deck. She heard no footsteps, saw nothing moving ex- 
cept the vanishing white shape of the late Captain H. C. 
Jorgenson, who was indifferent to the life of men. "Wait, 
King Tom!" she insisted, raising her voice; then, "I didn't 
mean it . . . Don't believe me," she cried, recklessly. 

For the second time that night a woman's voice startled the 
hearts of men on board the Emma. All except the heart of 
old Jorgenson. The Malaj^s in the boat looked up from 
their thwarts. D'Alcacer, sitting in the stern sheets beside 
Lingard, felt a sinking of his heart. 

"What's this?" he exclaimed. "I heard your name on 
deck. You are wanted, I think." 

" Shove off," ordered Lingard, inflexibly, without even look- 
ing at d'Alcacer. Mr. Travers was the only one who didn't 
seem to be aware of anything. A long time after the boat 
left the Emma's side he leaned towards d'Alcacer. 

"I have a most extraordinary feeling," he said in a cautious 
undertone. "I seem to be in the air — I don't know. Are 
we on the water, d'Alcacer? Are you quite sure? But of 
course we are on the water." 

"Yes," said d'Alcacer, in the same tone. "Crossing the 
Styx — perhaps." He heard Mr. Travers utter an unmoved 
"Very likely," which he did not expect. Lingard, his hand 
on the tiller, sat like a man of stone. 


"Then your point of view has changed," whispered 

"I told my wife to make an offer," went on the earnest 
whisper of the other man. "A sum of money. But to 
tell you the truth I don't believe very much in its success." 

D'Alcacer made no answer and only wondered whether 
he didn't like better Mr. Travers' other, unreasonable moo.d- 
There was no denying the fact that Mr. Travers was a troubl- 
ing person. Now he suddenly gripped d'Alcacer 's fore-arm 
and added under his breath : "I doubt everything. I doubt 
whether the offer will ever be made." 

All this was not very impressive. There was something 
pitiful in it: whisper, grip, shudder, as of a child frightened 
in the dark. But the emotion was deep. Once more that 
evening, but this time aroused by the husband's distress, 
d'Alcacer's wonder approached the borders of awe. 


HAVE you got King Tom's watch in there?" said a 
voice that seemed not to attach the slightest im- 
portance to the question. JSrgenson, outside the 
door of Mrs. Travers' part of the deckhouse, waited for the 
answer. He heard a low cry very much like a moan, the 
startled sound of pain that may be sometimes heard in sick 
rooms. But it moved him not at all. He would never have 
dreamt of opening the door unless told to do so, in which 
case he would have beheld, with complete indifference, Mrs. 
Travers extended on the floor with her head resting on the 
edge of the camp bedstead (on which Lingard had never 
slept), as though she had subsided there from a kneeling 
posture which is the attitude of prayer, supplication or de- 
feat. The hours of the night had passed Mrs. Travers by. 
After flinging herself on her knees, she didn't know why, since 
she could think of nothing to pray for, had nothing to in- 
voke, and was too far gone indeed for such a futile thing as 
despair, she had remained there tiU the sense of exhaustion had 
grown on her to the point in which she lost her belief in her 
power to rise. In a half-sitting attitude, her head resting 
against the edge of the couch and her arms flung above her 
head, she sank into an indifference, the mere resignation of a 
worn-out body and a worn-out mind which often is the only sort 
of rest that comes to people who are desperately ill and is wel- 
come enough in a way. The voice of Jorgenson roused her out 
of that state. She sat up, aching in every limb and cold all over. 

JSrgenson, behind the door, repeated with lifeless obstinacy : 

"Do you see King Tom's watch in there.'' " 

Mrs. Travers got up from the floor. She tottered, snatch- 
ing at the air, and found the back of the armchair under 
her hand. 



"Who's there?" 

She was also ready to ask: "Where am I?" but she 
remembered and at once became the prey of that active 
dread which had been lying dormant for a few hours in 
her uneasy and prostrate body. "What time is it?" she 
faltered out. 

"Dawn," pronounced the imperturbable voice at the door. 
It seemed to her that it was a word that could make any heart 
sink with apprehension. Dawn! She stood appalled. And 
the toneless voice outside the door insisted : 

"You must have Tom's watch there!" 

"I haven't seen it," she cried as if tormented by a dream. 

"Look in that desk thing. If you push open the shutter 
you will be able to see." 

Mrs. Travers became aware of the profound darkness of the 
cabin. Jorgenson heard her staggering in there. After a 
moment a woman's voice, which struck even him as strange, 
said in faint tones : 

"I have it. It's stopped." 

" It doesn't matter. I don't want to know the time. There 
should be a key about. See it anywhere? " 

"Yes, it's fastened to the watch," the dazed voice answered 
from within. Jorgenson waited before making his request. 
"Will you pass it out to me? There's precious httle time left 

The door flew open, which was certainly something Jor- 
genson had not expected. He had expected but a hand with 
the watch protruded through a narrow crack. But he didn't 
start back or give any other sign of surprise at seeing Mrs. 
Travers fully dressed. Against the faint clearness in the 
frame of the open shutter she presented to him the dark sil- 
houette of her shoulders surmounted by a sleek head, because 
her hair was still in the two plaits. To Jorgenson Mrs. Trav- 
ers in her un-European dress had always been displeas- 
ing, almost monstrous. Her stature, her gestures, her gen- 
eral carriage struck his eye as absurdly incongruous with a 
; Malay costume, too ample, too free, too bold — offensive. 
To Mrs. Travers, Jorgenson, in the dusk of the passage, had 


the aspect of a dim white ghost, and he chilled her by his 
ghost's aloofness. 

He picked up the watch from her outspread palm without 
a word of thanks, only mumbling in his moustache, "H'm, 
yes, that's it. I haven't yet forgotten how to count seconds 
correctly, but it's better to have a watch." 

She had not the slightest notion what he meant. And she 
did not care. Her mind remained confused and the sense of 
bodily discomfort oppressed her. She whispered, shame- 
facedly, "I believe I've slept." 

"I haven't," mumbled Jorgenson, growing more and more 
distinct to her eyes. The brightness of the short dawn in- 
creased rapidly as if the sun were impatient to look upon the 
Settlement. "No fear of that," he added, boastfully. 

It occurred to Mrs. Travers that perhaps she had not slept 
either. Her state had been more like an imperfect, half- 
conscious, quivering death. She shuddered at the recollec- 

"What an awful night," she murmured, drearily. 

There was nothing to hope for from Jorgenson. She 
expected him to vanish, indifferent, like a phantom of the 
dead carrying off the appropriately dead watch in his hand 
for some unearthly purpose. Jorgenson didn't move. His 
was an insensible, almost a senseless presence! Nothing 
could be extorted from it. But a wave of anguish as con- 
fused as all her other sensations swept Mrs. Travers off her 

"Why can't you tell me something?" she cried. 

For half a minute perhaps Jorgenson made no sound; then : 
" For years I have been telling anybody who cared to ask," 
he mumbled in his moustache. "TeUing Tom, too. And Tom 
knew what he wanted to do. How's one to know what you 
are after?" 

She had never expected to hear so many words from that 
rigid shadow. Its monotonous mumble was fascinating, its 
sudden loquacity was shocking. And in the profound still- 
ness that reigned outside it was as if there had been no one 
left in the world with her but the phantom of that old adven- 


turer. He was heard again: " What I could tell you would 
be worse than poison." 

Mrs. Travers was not familiar with Jorgenson's conse- 
crated phrases. The mechanical voice, the words them- 
selves, his air of abstraction appalled her. And he hadn't 
done yet; she caught some more of his unconcerned mum- 
bling: "There is nothing I don't know, " and the absurdity 
of the statement was also appalling. Mrs. Travers gasped, 
and with a wild little laugh: 

"Then you know why I called after King Tom last night." 

He glanced away along his shoulder through the door of 
the deckhouse at the growing brightness of the day. She 
did so, too. It was coming. It had come! Another day! 
And it seemed to Mrs. Travers a worse calamity than any 
discovery she had made in her life, than anything she could 
have imagined to come to her. The very magnitude of horror 
steadied her, seemed to calm her agitation as some kinds of 
fatal drugs do before they kill. She laid a steady hand on 
Jorgenson's sleeve and spoke quietly, distinctly, urgently. 

"You were on deck. What I want to know is whether I 
was heard.''" 

■'Yes," said Jorgenson, absently, "I heard you." Then, as 
if roused a little, he added less mechanically: "The whole 
ship heard you." 

Mrs. Travers asked herself whether perchance she had not 
simply screamed. It had ne^er occurred to her before that 
perhaps she had. At the time it seemed to her she had no 
strength for more than a whisper. Had she been really so 
loud? And the deadly chill, the night that had gone by her 
had left in her body, vanished from her limbs, passed out of 
her in a flush . Her face was turned away from the light, and 
that fact gave her courage to continue. Moreover, the man 
before her was so detached from the shames and prides and 
'schemes of life that he seemed not to count at all, except that 
somehow or other he managed at times to catch the mere 
literal sense of the words addressed to him — and answer them. 
'And answer them! Answer unfailingly, impersonally, with- 
out any feeling. 


"You saw Tom — King Tom? Was he there? I mean just 
then, at the moment. There was a light at the gangway. 
Was he on deck?" 

"No. In the boat." 

"Aheady? Could I have been heard in the boat down 
there? You say the whole ship heard me — and I don't care. 
But could he hear me?" 

"Was it Tom you were after?" said Jorgenson in the tone 
of a negligent remark. 

"Can't you answer me?" she cried, angrily. 

Tom was busy. "No child's play. The boat shoved off, " 
said Jorgenson, as if he were merely thinking aloud. 

"You won't tell me, then?" Mrs. Travers apostrophized 
him, fearlessly. She was not afraid of Jorgenson. Just then 
she was afraid of nothing and nobody. And Jorgenson went 
on thinking aloud. 

"I guess he will be kept busy from now on ajud so shall I. " 

Mrs. Travers seemed ready to take by the shoulders 
and shake that dead-voiced spectre till it begged for mercy. 
But suddenly her strong white arms fell down by her side, the 
arms of an exhausted woman. 

"I shall never find out," she whispered to herself. 

She cast down her eyes in intolerable humiliation, in in- 
tolerable desire, as though she had veiled her face. Not a 
sound reached the lonehness of her thought. But when she 
raised her eyes again Jorgenson was no longer standing before 

For an instant she saw him all black in the brilliant and 
narrow doorway, and the next moment he had vanished out- 
side, as if devoured by the hot blaze of light. The sun had 
risen on the Shore of Refuge. 

When Mrs. Travers came out on deck herself it was as it 
were with a boldly unveiled face, with wide-open and dry, 
sleepless eyes. Their gaze, undismayed by the sunshine, 
sought the innermost heart of things each day offered to the 
passion of her dread and of her impatience. The lagoon, the 
beach, the colours and the shapes struck her more than ever 
as a luminous painting on an immense cloth hiding the move- 


ments of an inexplicable life. She shaded her eyes with her 
hand. There were figures on the beach, moving dark dots 
on the white semi-circle bounded by the stockades, backed 
by roof ridges above the palm-groves. Further back the 
mass of carved white coral on the roof of the mosque shone 
like a white day-star. Religion and politics — always politics ! 
To the left, before Tengga's enclosure, the loom of fire had 
changed into a pillar of smoke. But there were some big 
trees over there and she couldn't tell whether the night coun- 
cil had prolonged its sitting. Some vague forms were still 
moving there and she could picture them to herself : Daman, 
the supreme chief of sea-robbers, with a vengeful heart and 
the eyes of a gazeUe; Sentot, the sour fanatic with the big 
turban, that other saint with a scanty loin cloth and ashes 
in his hair, and Tengga whom she could imagine from hear- 
say, fat, good-tempered, crafty, but ready to spill blood on his 
ambitious way and already bold enough to flaunt a yellow 
state umbrella at the very gate of Belarab's stockade — so 
they said. 

She saw, she imagined, she even admitted now the reality 
of those things no longer a mere pageant marshalled for her 
vision with barbarous splendour and savage emphasis. She 
questioned it no longer — but she did not feel it in her soul 
any more than one feels the depth of the sea under its peace- 
ful glitter or the turmoil of its grey fury. Her eyes ranged 
afar, unbelieving and fearful — and then all at once she be- 
came aware of the empty Cage with its interior in disorder, 
the camp bedsteads not taken away, a pillow lying on the deck, 
the dying fiame like a shred of dull yellow stuff inside the 
lamp left hanging over the table. The whole struck her as 
squalid and as if already decayed, a flimsy and idle phantasy. 
But Jorgenson, seated on the deck with his back to it, was not 
idle. His occupation, too, seemed fantastic and so truly child- 
ish that her heart sank at the man's utter absorption in it. 
Jorgenson had before him, stretched on the deck, several bits 
of rather thin and dirty -looking rope of different lengths from 
a couple of inches to about a foot. He had (an idiot might 
have amused himself in that way) set fire to the ends of them. 


They smouldered with amazing energy, emitting now and 
then a splutter, and in the calm air within the bulwarks sent 
up very slender, exactly parallel threads of smoke, each with 
a vanishing curl at the end; and the absorption with which 
Jorgenson gave himself up to that pastime was enough to 
shake all confidence in his sanity. 

In one half -opened hand he was holding the watch. He 
was also provided with a scrap of paper and the stump of a 
pencil. Mrs. Travers was confident that he did not either 
hear or see her. 

" Captain Jorgenson, you no doubt think. . . ." 

He tried to wave her away with the stump of the pencil. 
He did not want to be interrupted in his strange occupation. 
He was playing very gravely indeed with those bits of string. 
" I lighted them all together, " he murmured, keeping one eye 
on the dial of the watch. Just then the shortest piece of 
string went out, utterly consumed. Jorgenson made a hasty 
note and remained still while Mrs. Travers looked at him 
with stony eyes thinking that nothing in the world was any 
use. The other threads of smoke went on vanishing in spirals 
before the attentive Jorgenson. 

"What are you doing?" asked Mrs. Travers, drearily. 

"Timing match . . . precaution. . . ." 

He had never in Mrs. Travers' experience been less sjjectral 
than then. He displayed a weakness of the flesh. He was 
impatient at her intrusion. He divided his attention be- 
tween the threads of smoke and the face of the watch with 
such interest that the sudden reports of several guns breaking 
for the first time for days the stillness of the lagoon and the 
illusion of the painted scene failed to make him raise his head. 
He only jerked it sideways a little. Mrs. Travers stared at 
the wisps of white vapour floating above Belarab's stockade. 
The series of sharp detonations ceased and their combined 
echoes came back over the lagoon like a long-drawn and rush- 
ing sigh. 

"What's this?" cried Mrs. Travers. 

"Belarab's come home," said Jorgenson. 

The last thread of smoke disappeared and Jorgenson got 


up. He had lost all interest in the watch and thrust it care- 
lessly into his pocket, together with the bit of paper and the 
stump of pencil. He had resumed his aloofness from the 
life of men, but approaching the bulwark he condescended to 
look towards Belarab's stockade. 

"Yes, he is home," he said very low. 

"What's going to happen?" cried Mrs. Travers. "What's 
to be done?" Jorgenson kept up his appearance of com- 
muning with himself. 

"I know what to do," he mumbled. 

"You are lucky," said Mrs. Travers, with intense bitter- 

It seemed to her that she was abandoned by all the world. 
The opposite shore of the lagoon had resumed its aspect 
of a painted scerke that would never roll up to disclose the 
truth behind its blinding and soulless splendour. It seemed 
to her that she had said her last words to all of them: to 
d'Alcacer, to her husband, to Lingard himself — and that they 
had all gone behind the curtain forever out of her sight. Of 
all the white men Jorgenson alone was left, that man who had 
done with life so completely that his mere presence robbed 
it of all heat and mystery, leaving nothing but its terrible, its 
revolting insignificance. And jNIrs. Travers was ready for 
revolt. She cried with suppressed passion : 

"Are you aware, Captain Jorgenson, that I am alive?" 

He turned his eyes on her, and for a moment she was 
daunted by their cold glassiness. But before they could 
drive her away, something like the gleam of a spark gave them 
an instant's animation. 

"I want to go and join them. I want to go ashore," she 
said, firmly. "There!" 

Her bare and extended arm pointed across the lagoon, and 
Jorgenson's resurrected eyes glided along the white limb and 
wandered off into space. 

"No boat," he muttered. 

"There must be a canoe. I know there is a canoe. I 
want it." 

She stepped forward compelling, commanding, trying to 


concentrate in her glance all her will power, the sense of her 
own right to dispose of herself and her claim to be served to 
the last moment of her Ufa. It was as if she had done noth- 
ing. Jorgenson didn't flinch. 

"Which of them are you after?" asked his blank, unring- 
ing voice. 

She continued to look at him; her face had stiffened into 
a severe mask; she managed to say distinctly: 

"I suppose you have been asking yourself tliat question 
for some time. Captain Jorgenson?" 

" No. I am asking you now." 

His face disclosed nothing to Mrs. Travers' bold and weary 
eyes. "What could you do over there?" Jorgenson added, 
as merciless, as irrepressible and sincere as though he were 
the embodiment of that inner voice that speaks in all of us at 
times and, like Jorgenson, is offensive and difficult to answer. 

"Remember that I am not a shadow. Captain Jorgenson. 
I can live and I can die. Send me over to share their fate." 

"Sure you would like?" asked the roused Jorgenson in a 
voice that had an unexpected quality, a faint vibration which 
no man had known in it for years. "There may be death 
in it," he mumbled, relapsing into indifference. 

"Who cares?" she said, recklessly. "All I want is to ask 
Tom a question and hear his answer. That's what I would 
like. That's what I must have." 


A LONG the hot and gloomy forest path, neglected, over- 
f-\ grown and strangled in the fierce life of the jungle, 
-*- -*- there came a faint rustle of leaves. Jaffir, the servant 
of princes, the messenger of great men, walked, stooping, with 
a broad chopper in his hand. He was naked from the waist 
upwards, his shoulders and arms were scratched and bleeding. 
A multitude of biting insects made a cloud about his head. 
He had lost his costly and ancient head-kerchief, and when 
in a slightly wider space he stopped in a listening attitude 
anybody would have taken him for a fugitive. 

He waved his arms about, slapping his shoulders, the sides 
of his head, his heaving flanks. Then, motionless, listened 
again for a while. A sound of firing, not so much made faint 
by distance as muffled by the masses of foliage, reached his 
ears, dropping shots which he could have counted if he had 
cared to. "There is fighting in the forest already," he 
thought. Then putting his head low in the tunnel of vegeta- 
tion he dashed forward out of the horrible cloud of flies, which 
he actually managed for an instant to leave behind him. But 
it was not from the cruelty of insects that he was flying, for 
no man could hope to drop that escort, and Jafiir in his life of a 
faithful messenger had been accustomed, if such an extrava- 
gant phrase may be used, to be eaten alive. Bent nearly 
double he glided and dodged between the trees, through the 
undergrowth, his brown body streaming with sweat, his firm 
limbs gleaming like limbs of imperishable bronze through the 
mass of green leaves that are forever born and forever dying. 
For all his desperate haste he was no longer a fugitive; he was 
simply a man in a tremendous hurry. His flight, which had 
begun with a bound and a rush and a general display of great 
presence of mind, was a simple issue from a critical situation. 



Issues from critical situations are generally simple if one is 
quick enough to think of them in time. He became aware 
very soon that the attempt to pursue him had been given up, 
but he had taken the forest path and had kept up his pace 
because he had left his Rajah and the lady Immada beset by 
enemies on the edge of the forest, as good as captives to a 
party of Tengga's men. 

Belarab's hesitation had proved too much even for Has- 
sim's hereditary patience in such matters. It is but becom- 
ing that weighty negotiations should be spread over many 
days, that the same requests and arguments should be re- 
peated in the same words, at many successive interviews, and 
receive the same evasive answers. Matters of state demand 
the dignity of such a procedure as if time itself had to wait on 
the power and wisdom of rulers. Such are the proceedings 
of embassies and the dignified patience of envoys. But 
at this time of crisis Hassim's impatience obtained the upper 
hand; and though he never departed from the tradition of 
soft speech and restrained bearing while following with his 
sister in the train of the pious Belarab, he had his moments 
of anger, of anxiety, of despondency. His friendships, his 
future, his country's destinies were .at stake, while Belarab's 
camp wandered deviously over the back country as if in- 
fluenced by the vacillation of the ruler's thought, the very 
image of uncertain fate. 

Often no more than the single word "Good" was all the 
answer vouchsafed to Hassim's daily speeches. The lesser 
men, companions of the Chief, treated him with deference; 
but Hassim could feel the opposition from the women's side 
of the camp working agaiast his cause in subservience to the 
mere caprice of the new wife, a girl quite gentle and kind to 
her dependents, but whose imagination had run away with 
her completely and had made her greedy for the loot of the 
yacht from mere simplicity and innocence. What could 
Hassim, that stranger, wandering and poor, ofiFer for her ac- 
ceptance? Nothing. The wealth of his far-off country was 
but an idle tale, the talk of an exile looking for help. 

At night Hassim had to listen to the anguished doubts 


of Imraada, the only compajiioii of his life, child of the same 
mother, brave as a man, but in her fears a very woman. She 
whispered them to him far into the night while the camp of 
the great Belarab was hushed in sleep and the fires had sunk 
down t& mere glowing embers. Hassim soothed her gravely. 
But he, too, was a native of Wajo where men are more daring 
and quicker of mind than other Malays. More energetic, too, 
and energy does not go without an inner fire. Hassim lost 
patience and one evening he declared to his sister Immada: 
"To-morrow we leave this ruler without a mind and go back 
to our white friend." 

Thea-efore next morning, letting the camp move on the di- 
rect road to the Settlement, Hassim and Immada took a course 
of their own. It was a lonely path between the jungle and 
the clearings. They had two attendants with them, Has- 
sim's own men, men of Wajo; and so the lady Immada, when 
she had a mind to, could be carried, after the manner of the 
great ladies of Wajo who need not put foot to the ground un- 
less they Kke. The lady Immada, accustomed to the hard- 
ships that are the lot of exiles, preferred to walk, but from 
time to tijne she let herself be carried for a short distance out 
of regard for the feelings of her attendants. The party made 
good tioae during the early hours, and Hassim expected con- 
fidently to reach before evening the shore of the lagoon at a 
spot veiy near the stranded Emma. At noon they rested 
in the skade near a dark pool within the edge of the forest; 
and it was there that JafEr met tkem, much to his and their 
surprise. It was the occasion of a long talk. Jaffir, squatting 
on his heels, discoursed in measured tones. He had en- 
tranced listeners. The story of Carter's exploit amongst the 
shoals had not reached Belarab's camp. It was a great shock 
to Hassim, but the sort of half smile with which he had been 
listening to Jaffir never altered its character. It was the 
Princess Immada who cried out in distress and wrung her 
hands. A deep silence fell. 

Indeed, before the fatal magnitude of the fact it seemed 
even to those Malays that there was nothing to say and 
Jaffir, lowering his head, respected his Prince's consternation. 


Then, before that feeling could pass away from that small 
group of people seated round a few smouldering sticks, the 
noisy approach of a large party of men made them all leap 
to their feet. Before they could make another movement 
they perceived themselves discovered. The men were 
armed as if bound on some warlike expedition. Amongst 
them Sentot, in his loin cloth and with unbound wild locks, 
capered and swung his arms about like the lunatic he was. 
The others' astonishment made them halt, but their attitude 
was obviously hostile. In the rear a portly figure flanked 
by two attendants carrying swords was approaching prud- 
ently. Rajah Hassim resumed quietly his seat on the trunk 
of a tree, Immada rested her hand Ughtly on her brother's 
shoulder, and Jaffir, squatting down again, looked at the 
ground with all his faculties and every muscle of his body 
tensely on the alert. 

"Tengga's fighters," he murmured, scornfully. 

In the group somebody shouted, and was answered by 
shouts from afar. There could be no thought of resistance. 
Hassim sUpped the emerald ring from his finger stealthily 
and Jaflir got hold of it by an almost imperceptible move- 
ment. The Rajah did not even look at the trusty messenger. 

"Fail not to give it to the white man," he murmured. 

"Thy servant hears, O! Rajah. It's a charm of great 

The shadows were growing to the westward. Everybody 
was silent, and the shifting group of armed men seemed to 
have drifted closer. Immada, drawing the end of a scarf 
across her face, confronted the advance with only one eye 
exposed. On the flank of the armed men Sentot was per- 
forming a slow dance but he, too, seemed to have gone dumb. 

"Now go," breathed out Rajah Hassim, his gaze levelled 
into space immovably. 

For a second or more Jaffir did not stir, then with a sudden 
leap from his squatting posture he flew through the air and 
struck the jungle in a great commotion of leaves, vanishing 
instantly like a swimmer diving from on high. A deep 
murmur of surprise arose in the armed party, a spear was 


thrown, a shot was fired, three or four men dashed into the 
forest, but they soon returned crestfallen with apologetic 
smiles ; while JafSr, striking an old path that seemed to lead 
in the right direction, ran on in solitude, raising a rustle of 
leaves, with a naked parang in his hand and a cloud of flies 
about his head. The sun declining to the westward threw 
shafts of light across his dark path. He ran at a springy 
half-trot, his eyes watchful, his broad chest heaving, and 
carrying the emerald ring on the forefinger of a clenched hand 
as though he were afraid it should slip off, fly off, be torn from 
him by an invisible force, or spirited away by some enchant- 
ment. Who could tell what might happen? There were 
evil forces at work in the world, powerful incantations, hor- 
rible apparitions. The messenger of princes and of great men, 
charged with the supreme appeal of his master, was afraid in 
the deepening shade of the forest. Evil presences might 
have been lurking in that gloom. Still the sun had not set 
yet. He could see its face through the leaves as he skirted 
the shore of the lagoon. But what if Allah's call should come 
to him suddenly and he die as he ran ! 

He drew a long breath on the shore of the lagoon within 
about a hundred yards from the stranded bows of the Emma. 
The tide was out and he walked to the end of a submerged 
log and sent out a hail for a boat. Jorgenson's voice an- 
swered. The sun had sunk behind the forest belt of the coast. 
All was still as far as the eye could reach over the black water. 
A slight breeze came along it and Jaffir on the brink, waiting 
for a canoe, shivered a little. 

At the same moment Carter, exhausted by thirty hours 
of uninterrupted toil at the head of whites and Malays in 
getting the yacht afloat, dropped into Mrs. Travers' deck 
chair, on board the Hermit, said to the devoted Wasub: 
"Let a good watch be kept to-night, old man," glanced 
contentedly at the setting sun and fell asleep. 


THERE was in the bows of the Emma an elevated 
grating over the heel of her bowsprit whence the 
eye could take in the whole range of her deck and 
see every movement of her crew. It was a spot safe from 
eaves-droppers, though, of course, exposed to view. The sun 
had just set on the supreme content of Carter when Jorgen- 
son and JafSr sat down side by side between the knight- 
heads of the Emma and, public but unapproachable, impres- 
sive and secret, began to converse in low tones. 

Every Wajo fugitive who manned the hulk felt the ap- 
proach of a decisive moment. Their minds were made up 
and their hearts beat steadily. They were all desperate men 
determined to fight and to die and troubling not about the 
manner of living or dying. This was not the case with Mrs. 
Travers who, having shut herself up in the deckhouse, was 
profoundly troubled about those very things, though she, too, 
felt desperate enough to welcome almost any solution. 

Of all the people on board she alone did not know anything 
of that conference. In her deep and aimless thinking she 
had only become aware of the absence of the slightest sound 
on board the Emma. Not a rustle, not a footfall. The 
public view of Jorgenson and Jaffir in deep consultation had 
the effect of taking all wish to move from every man. 

Twilight enveloped the two figures forward while they 
talked, looking in the stillness of their pose like carved figures 
of European and Asiatic contrasted in intimate contact. 
The deepening dusk had nearly effaced them when at last 
they rose without warning, as it were, and thrilhng the heart 
of the beholders by the sudden movement. But they did not 
separate at once. They lingered in their high place as if 
awaiting the fall of complete darkness, a fit ending to their 



mysterioHS communion. JafBr had given Jorgenson the 
whole story of the ring, the symbol of a friendship matured 
and confirmed on the night of defeat, on the night of flight 
from a far-distant land sleeping unmoved under the wrath 
and fire of heaven. 

"Yes, Tuan," continued Jaffir, "it was first sent out to the 
white man, on a night of mortal danger, a present to remem- 
ber a friend by. I was the bearer of it then even as I am 
now. Then, as now, it was given to me and I was told to save 
myself and hand the ring over in confirmation of my message. 
I did so and that white man seemed to still the very storm to 
save my Rajah. He was not one to depart and forget him 
whom he had once called his friend. My message was but a 
message of good-bye, but the charm of the ring was strong 
enough to draw all the {wwer of that white man to the help 
of my master. Now I have no words to say. Rajah Hassim 
asks for nothing. But what of that? By the mercy of Allah 
all things are the same, the compassion of the Most High, the 
power of the ring, the heart of the white man. Nothing is 
changed, only the friendship is a Uttle older and love has 
grown because of the shared dangers and long companionship. 
Therefore, Tuan, I have no fear. But how am I to get the 
ring to the Rajah Laut? Just hand it to him? The last 
breath would be time enough if they were to sj)ear me at 
his feet. But alas! the bush is full of Tengga's men, the 
beach is of>en and I could never even hope to reach the gate." 

Jorgenson, with his hands deep in the pockets of his tunic, 
hstened, looking down. Jafiir showed as much consterna- 
tion as his nature was capable of. 

"Our refuge is with God," he murmured. "But what is 
to be done? Has your wisdom no stratagem, O! Tuan?" 

Jorgenson did not answer. It appeared as though he had no 
stratagem. But God is great and Jaffir waited on the other's 
immobihty, anxious but patient, perplexed yet hopeful in his 
grim way, while the night flowing on from the dark forest near 
by hid their two figures from the sight of observing men. Be- 
fore the silence of Jorgenson Jaffir began to talk practically. 
Now that Tengga had thrown off the mask Jaffir did not 


think that he could land on the beach without being attacked, 
captured, nay killed, since a man like he, though he could 
save himself by taking flight at the order of his master, could 
not be expected to surrender without a fight. He mentioned 
that in the exercise of his important functions he knew how to 
glide like a shadow, creep like a snake, and almost burrow 
his way underground. He was Jaffir who had never been 
foiled. No bog, morass, great river or jungle could stop him. 
He would have welcomed them. In many respects they 
were the friends of a crafty messenger. But that was an 
open beach, and there was no other way, and as things stood 
now every bush around, every tree trunk, every deep shadow 
of house or fence would conceal Tengga's men or such of 
Daman's infuriated partisans as had made already their 
way to the SetiJement. How could he hope to traverse the 
distance between the water's edge and Belarab's gate which 
now would remain shut night and day ? Not only himself but 
anybody from the Errmia would be sure to be rushed upon 
and speared in twenty places. 

He reflected for a moment in silence. 

"Even you, Tuan, could not accomplish the feat." 

"True," muttered Jorgenson. 

When, after a period of meditation, he looked round, Jaffir 
was no longer by his side. He had descended from the 
high place and was probably squatting on his heels in some 
dark nook on the fore deck. Jorgenson knew Jaffir too well 
to suppose that he would go to sleep. He would sit there 
thinking himself into a state of fury, then get away from the 
Emma in some way or other, go ashore and perish fighting. 
He would, in fact, run amok; for it looked as if there could be 
no way out of the situation. Then, of course, Lingard would 
know nothing of Hassim and Immada's captivity for the 
ring would never reach him — the ring that could tell its own 
tale. No, Lingard would know nothing. He would know 
nothing about anybody outside Belarab's stockade till the 
end came, whatever the end might be, for all those people 
that lived the life of men. Whether to know or not to know 
would be good for Lingard Jorgenson could not tell. He 


admitted to himself that here there was something that he, 
Jorgenson, could not tell. All the possibilities were wrapped 
up in doubt, uncertain, like all things pertaining to the life 
of men. It was only when giving a short thought to himself 
that Jorgenson had no doubt. He, of course, would know 
what to do. 

On the thin face of that old adventurer hidden in the 
night not a feature moved, not a muscle twitched, as he de- 
scended in his turn and walked aft along the decks of the 
Emma. His faded eyes, which had seen so much, did not 
attempt to explore the night, they never gave a glance to the 
silent watchers against whom he brushed. Had a Ught been 
flashed on him suddenly he would have appeared like a man 
walking in his sleep: the somnambulist of an eternal dream. 
Mrs. Travers heard his footsteps pass along the side of the 
deckhouse. She heard them— and let her head fall again on 
her bare arms thrown over the little desk before which she sat. 

Jorgenson, standing by the taffraU, noted the faint reddish i 
glow in the massive blackness of the further shore. Jorgen- 
son noted things quickly, cursorily, perfunctorily, as phe- 
nomena unrelated to his own apparitional existence of a 
visiting ghost. They were but passages in the game of 
men who were still playing at life. He knew too well 
how much that game was worth to be concerned about 
its course. He had given up the habit of thinking for so 
long that the sudden resumption of it irked him exceed- 
ingly, especially as he had to think on towards a conclu- 
sion. In that world of eternal oblivion, of which he had 
tasted before Lingard made him step back into the life of 
men, all things were settled forever. He was irritated by his 
own perplexity which was like a reminder of that mortality 
made up of questions and passions from which he had fancied 
he had freed himself forever. By a natural association his 
contemptuous annoyance embraced the existence of Mrs. 
Travers, too, for how could he think of Tom Lingard, of what 
was good or bad for King Tom, without thinking also of that 
woman who had managed to put the ghost of a spark even 
into his own extinguished eyes. She was of no account; but 


Tom's integrity was. It was of Tom that he had to think, 
of what was good or bad for Tom in that absurd and deadly 
game of his life. Finally he reached the conclusion that to be 
given the ring would be good for Tom Lingard. Just to be 
given the ring and no more. The ring and no more. 

"It will help him to make up his mind," muttered Jorgen- 
son in his moustache, as if compelled by an obscure conviction. 
It was only then that he stirred slightly and turned away 
from the loom of the fires on the distant shore. Mrs. Travers 
heard his footsteps passing again along the side of the deck- 
house — and this time never raised her head. That man was 
sleepless, mad, childish and inflexible. He was impossible. 
He haunted the decks of that hidk aimlessly. . . . 

It was, however, in pursuance of a very distinct aim that 
Jorgenson had gone forward again to seek JafEr. 

The first remark he had to offer to Jaffir's consideration 
was that the only person in the world who had the remotest 
'chance of reaching Belarab's gate on that night was that tall 
white woman the Rajah Laut had brought on board, the 
wife of one of the captive white chiefs. Surprise made JaflSr 
exclaim, but he wasn't prepared to deny that. It was possi- 
ble that for many reasons, some quite simple and others very 
subtle, those sons of the Evil One belonging to Tengga and 
Daman would refrain from killing a white woman walking 
alone from the water's edge to Belarab's gate. Yes, it was 
just possible that she might walk unharmed. 

"Especially if she carried a blazing torch," muttered J6r- 
genson in his moustache. He told Jaffir that she was sitting 
now in the dark, mourning silently in the manner of white 
women. She had made a great outcry in the morning to be 
allowed to join the white men on shore. He, Jorgenson, had 
refused her the canoe ever since she had secluded herself in 
the deckhouse in great distress. 

Jaffir listened to it all without particular sympathy. And 
when Jorgenson added, "It is in my mind, O Jaffir, to let her 
have her will now," he answered by a "Yes, by Allah! let 
her go. What does it matter?" of the greatest uaconcern, 
till Jorgenson added: 


"Yes. And she may carry the ring to the Rajah Laut." 

Jorgenson saw JafiSr, the grim and impassive Jaffir, give 
a perceptible start. It seemed at first an impossible task 
to persuade Jaffir to part with the ring. The notion was too 
monstrous to enter his mind, to move his heart. But at last 
he surrendered in an awed whisper, "God is great. Perhaps 
it is her destiny." 

Being a Wajo man he did not regard women as imtrust- 
worthy or unequal to a task requiring courage and judgment. 
Once he got over the personal feeUng he handed the ring to 
Jorgenson with only one reservation, "You know, Tuan, that 
she must on no account put it on her finger." 

"Let her hang it round her neck," suggested Jorgenson, 

As Jorgenson moved towards the deckhouse it occurred 
to him that perhaps now that woman Tom Lingard had taken 
in tow might take it into her head to refuse to leave the 
Emma. This did not disturb him very much. All those 
people moved in the dark. He himself at that particular 
moment was moving in the dark. Beyond the simple wish 
to guide Lingard's thought in the direction of Hassim and 
Immada, to help him to make up his mind at last to a 
ruthless fidelity to his purpose Jorgenson had no other aim. 
The existence of those whites had no meaning on earth. 
They were the sort of people that pass without leaving foot- 
prints. That woman would have to act in ignorance. And 
if she refused to go then in ignorance she would have to stay 
on board. He would tell her nothing. 

As a matter of fact, he discovered that Mrs. Travers 
would simply have nothing to do with him. She would not 
hsten to what he had to say. She desired him, a mere weary 
voice confined in the darkness of the deck cabin, to go away 
and trouble her no more. But the ghost of Jorgenson was 
not easily exorcised. He, too, was a mere voice in the outer 
darkness, inexorable, insisting that she should come out on 
deck and listen. At last he found the right words to say. 

"It is something about Tom that I want to tell you. 
You wish him well, don't you?" 


Af-ter this she could not refuse to come out on deck and 
once there she listened patiently to that white ghost mutter- 
ing and mumbling above her drooping head. 

"It seems to me. Captain Jorgenson," she said after he had 
ceased, "that you are siaiply trifling with me. After your 
behaviour to me this morning, I can have nothing to say 
to you." 

"I have a canoe for you now," mumbled Jorgenson. 

"You have some new purpose in view now," retorted Mrs. 
Travers with spirit. "But you won't make it clear to me? 
What is it that you have in your mind? " 

"Tom's interest." 

"Are you really his friend?" 

"He brought me here. You know it. ' He has talked a 
lot to you." 

"He did. But I ask myself whether you are capable of 
being anybody's friend." 

"You ask yourself!" repeated Jorgenson, very quiet and 
morose. "If I am not his friend I should like to know who 

Mrs. Travers asked, quickly: "What's all this about a ring? 
What ring?" 

"Tom's property. He has had it for years." 

" And he gave it to you? Doesn't he care for it? " 

"Don't know. It's just a thing." 

"But it has a meaning as between you and him. Is that 


"Yes. It has. He will know what it means." 

"What does it mean?" 

"I am too much his friend not to hold my tongue." 

"What! Tome!" 

"And who are you?" was Jorgenson's unexpected remark. 
"He has told you too much already." 

"Perhaps he has," whispered Mrs. Travers, as if to herself. 
"And you want that ring to be taken to him?" she asked, 
in a louder tone. 

"Yes. At once. For his good." 

"Are you certain it is for his good? Why can't you. . . ." 


She checked herself. That man was hopeless. He would 
never tell anything and there was no means of compeUing 
him. He was invulnerable, unapproachable. . • • He 
was dead. 

"Just give it to him," mumbled Jorgenson as though 
pursuing a mere fixed idea. "Just slip it quietly into his 
hand. He wiU understand." 

"What is it.'' Advice, warning, signal for action? " 

"It may be anything," uttered Jorgenson, morosely, but as 
it were in a mollified tone. "It's meant for his good." 

"Oh, if I only could trust that man," mused Mrs. Travers, 
half aloud. 

Jorgenson's slight noise in the throat might have been 
taken for an expression of sympathy. But he remained 

"Really, this is most extraordinary!" cried Mrs. Travers, 
suddenly aroused. "Why did you come to me? Why 
should it be my task? Why should you want me specially 
to take it to him?" 

"I will tell you why," said Jorgenson's blank voice. "It's 
because there is no one on board this hulk that can hope to 
get alive inside that stockade. This morning you told me 
yourself that you were ready to die — for Tom — or with Tom. 
Well, risk it then. You are the only one that has half a 
chance to get through — and Tom, maybe, is waiting." 

"The only one," repeated Mrs. Travers with an abrupt 
movement forward and an extended hand before which 
Jorgenson stepped back a pace. "Risk it! Certainly! 
Where's that mysterious ring?" 

"I have got it in my pocket," said Jorgenson, readily; yet 
nearly half a minute elapsed before Mi-s. Travers felt the 
characteristic shape being pressed into her half-open palm. 
"Don't let anybody see it," Jorgenson admonished her in a 
murmur. "Hide it somewhere about you. Why not hang 
it round your neck? " 

Mrs. Travers' hand remained firmly closed on the ring. 
"Yes, that will do," she murmured, hastily. "I'll be back 
in a moment. Get everything ready." With those words 


she disappeared inside the deckhouse and presently threads 
of Ught appeared in the interstices of the boards. Mrs. 
Travers had hghted a candle in there. She was busy hanging 
that ring round her neck. She was going. Yes — taking 
the risk for Tom's sake. 

"Nobody can resist that man," Jorgenson muttered to 
himself with increasing moroseness. "Z couldn't." 


JORGENSON, after seeing the canoe leave the ship's 
side, ceased to Uve intellectually. There was no need 
for more thinking, for any display of mental in- 
genuity. He was done with it all. All his notions were 
perfectly fixed and he could go over them in the same ghostly 
way in which he haunted the deck of the Emma. At the sight 
of the ring Lingard would return to Hassim and Immada, 
now captives, too, though Jorgenson certainly did not think 
them in any serious danger. What had happened really 
was that Tengga was now holding hostages, and those Jorgen- 
son looked upon as Lingard's own people. They were his. 
He had gone in with them deep, very deep. They had a 
hold and a claim on King Tom just as many years ago people 
of that very race had had a hold and a claim on him, Jorgen- 
son. Only Tom was a much bigger man. A very big man. 
Nevertheless, Jorgenson didn't see why he should escape his 
own fate — ^Jorgenson's fate — to be absorbed, captured, made 
their own either in failure or in success. It was an unavoid- 
able fatality and Jorgenson felt certain that the ring would 
compel Lingard to face it without flinching. What he really 
wanted Lingard to do was to cease to take the slightest in- 
terest in those whites — who were the sort of people that left 
no footprints. 

Perhaps at first sight, sending that woman to Lingard was 
not the best way towards that end. Jorgenson, however, had a 
distinct impression in which his morning talk with Mrs. 
Travers had only confirmed him, that those two had quar- 
relled for good. As, indeed, was unavoidable. What did 
Tom Lingard want with any woman? The only woman in 
Jorgenson's life had come in by way of exchange for a 
lot of cotton stuffs and several brass guns. This fact could 



not but affect J5rgenson's judgment since obviously in this 
case such a transaction was impossible. Therefore the case 
waa not serious. It didn't exist. What did exist was Lin- 
gard's relation to the Wajo exiles, a great and warlike 
adventure such as no rover in those seas had ever at- 

That Tengga was much more ready to negotiate than to 
fight, the old adventurer had not the slightest doubt. How 
Lingard would deal with him was not a concern of Jorgen- 
son's. That would be easy enough. Nothing prevented 
Lingard from going to see Tengga and talking to him with 
authority. All that ambitious person really wanted was to 
have a share in Lingard's wealth, in Lingard's power, in 
Lingard's friendship. A year before Tengga had once insin- 
uated to Jorgenson, "In what way am I less worthy of being 
a friend than Belarab?" 

It was a distinct overture, a disclosure of the man's inner- 
most mind. Jorgenson, of course, had met it with a profound 
silence. His task was not diplomacy but the care of stores. 

After the effort of connected mental processes in order 
to bring about Mrs. Travers' departure he was anxious to 
dismiss the whole matter from his mind. The last thought 
he gave to it was severely practical. It occurred to him that 
it would be advisable to attract in some way or other Lin- 
gard's attention to the lagoon. In the language of the sea 
a single rocket is properly a signal of distress, but, in the cir- 
cumstances, a group of three sent up simultaneously would 
convey a warning. He gave his orders and watched the 
rockets go up finely with a trail of red sparks, a bursting of 
white stars high up in the air and three loud reports in quick 
succession. Then he resumed his pacing of the whole length 
of the hulk, confident that after this Tom would guess that 
something was up and set a close watch over the lagoon. 
No doubt these mysterious rockets would have a disturbing 
effect on Tengga and his friends and cause a great excitement 
in the Settlement; but for that Jorgenson did not care. The 
Settlement was already in such a turmoil that a Uttle more 
excitement did not matter. What Jorgenson did not expect, 


however, was the sound of a musket-shot fired from the 
jungle facing the bows of the Emma. It caused him to stop 
dead short. He had heard distinctly the bullet strike the 
curve of the bow forward. "Some hot-headed ass fired 
that," he said to himself, contemptuously. It simply dis- 
closed to him the fact that he was already besieged on the 
shore side and set at rest his doubts as to the length Tengga 
was prepared to go. Any length! Of course there was 
still time for Tom to put everything right with six words, 
unless . . . Jorgenson smiled, grimly, in the dark and 
resumed his tireless pacing. 

What amused him was to observe the fire which had 
been burning night and day before Tengga's residence sud- 
denly extinguished. He pictured to himself the wild rush 
with bamboo buckets to the lagoon shore, the confusion, 
the hurry and jostling in a great hissing of water midst clouds 
of steam. The image of the fat Tengga's consternation ap- 
pealed to Jorgenson 's sense of humour for about five seconds. 
Then he took up[the binoculars from the roof of the deckhouse. 

The bursting of the three white stars over the lagoon 
had given him a momentary glimpse of the black speck of 
the canoe taking over Mrs. Travers. He couldn't find it 
again with the glass, it was too dark; but the part of the 
shore for which it was steered would be somewhere near the 
angle of Belarab's stockade nearest to the beach. This 
Jorgenson could make out in the faint rosy glare of fires 
burning inside. Jorgenson was certain that Lingard was look- 
ing towards the Emma through the most convenient loophole 
he could find. 

As obviously Mrs. Travers could not have paddled herself 
across, two men were taking her over; and for the steersman 
she had Jafiir. Though he had assented to Jorgenson's plan 
Jaffir was anxious to accompany the ring as near as possible 
to its destination. Nothing but dire necessity had induced 
him to part with the talisman. Crouching in the stern 
and flourishing his paddle from side to side he glared at 
the back of the canvas deck chair which had been placed in 
the middle for Mrs. Travers. Wrapped up in the darkness 


she reclined in it with her eyes closed, faintly aware of the 
ring hung low on her breast. As the canoe was rather large 
it was moving very slowly. The two men dipped their 
paddles without a splash; and surrendering herself passively, 
in a temporary relaxation of all her limbs to this adventure, 
Mrs. Travers had no sense of motion at all. She, too, like 
Jorgenson, was tired of thinking. She abandoned herself 
to the silence of that night full of roused passions and deadly 
purposes. She abandoned herself to an illusory feeling: to 
the impression that she was really resting. For the first 
time in many days she could taste the relief of being alone. 
The men with her were less than nothing. She could not 
speak to them; she could not understand them; the canoe 
might have been moving by enchantment— if it did move at 
all. Like a half-conscious sleeper she was on the verge of 
saying to herself: "What a strange dream I am having." 

The low tones of Jaffir's voice stole into it quietly, telling 
the men to cease paddling, and the long canoe came to a 
rest slowly, no more than ten yards from the beach. The 
party had been provided with a torch which was to be lighted 
before the canoe touched the shore, thus giving a character 
of openness to this desperate expedition. "And if it draws 
fire on us," JafBr had commented to Jbrgenson, "well, then, 
we shall see whose fate it is to die on this night." 
"Yes," had muttered Jorgenson. "We shall see." 
Jorgenson saw at last the small light of the torch against 
the blackness of the stockade. He strained his hearing for a 
possible volley of musketry fire but no sound came to him 
over the broad surface of the lagoon. Over there the man 
with the torch, the other paddler and Jafiir himself impelhng 
with a gentle motion of his paddle the canoe towards the shore, 
had the glistening eyeballs and the tense faces of silent excite- 
ment. The ruddy glare smote Mrs. Travers' closed eyelids 
but she didn't open her eyes till she felt the canoe touch the 
strand. The two men leaped instantly out of it. Mrs. 
Travers rose, abruptly. Nobody made a sound. She stum- 
bled out of the canoe on to the beach and almost before 
she had recovered her balance the torch was thrust into her 


hand. The heat, the nearness of the blaze confused and 
Winded her till, instinctively, she raised the torch high above 
her head. For a moment she stood still, holding aloft the 
fierce flame from which a few sparks were falling slowly. 

A naked bronze arm lighted from above pointed out the 
direction and Mrs. Tra vers began to walk towards the featiu-e- 
less black mass of the stockade. When after a few steps she 
looked back over her shoulder, the lagoon, the beach, the 
canoe, the men she had just left had become abeady invisible. 
She was alone bearing up a blazing torch on an earth that 
was a dumb shadow shifting under her feet. At last she 
reached firmer ground and the dark length of the palisade 
untouched as yet by the light of the torch seemed to her im- 
mense, intimidating. She felt ready to drop from sheer emo- 
tion. But she moved on. 

"A little more to the left," shouted a strong voice. 

It vibrated through aU her fibres, rousing like the call of 
a trumpet, went far beyond her, filled aU the space. Mrs. 
Travers stood still for a moment, then casting far away from 
her the burning torch ran forward blindly with her hands 
extended towards the great sound of Lingard's voice, leaving 
behind her the light flaring and spluttering on the ground. 
She stumbled and was only saved from a fall by her bands 
coming in contact with the rough stakes. The stockade 
rose high above her head and she climg to it with widely open 
arms, pressing her whole body against the rugged surface of 
that enormous and unscaleable palisade. She heard through 
it low voices inside, heavy thuds; and felt at every blow a 
sHght vibration of the ground under her feet. She glanced 
fearfully over her shoulder and saw nothing in tlie darkness 
but the expiring glow of the torch she had thrown away and 
the sombre shimmer of the lagoon bordering the opaque 
darkness of the shore. Her strained eyeballs seemed to de- 
tect mysterious movements in the darkness and she gave 
way to irresistible terror, to a shrinking agony of apprehen- 
sion. Was she to be transfixed by a broad blade, to the high, 
immoveable wall of wood against which she was flattening 
herself desperately, as though she could hope to penetrate it 


by the mere force of her fear? She had no idea where she 
was, but as a matter of fact she was a little to the left of the 
principal gate and almost exactly under one of the loopholes 
of the stockade. Her excessive anguish passed into insen- 
sibility. She ceased to hear, to see, and even to feel the 
contact of the surface to which she clung. Lingard's voice 
somewhere from the sky above her head was directing her, 
distinct, very close, full of concern. 

"You must stoop low. Lower yet." 

The stagnant blood of her body began to pulsate languidly. 
She stooped low — lower yet — so low that she had to sink on 
her knees, and then became aware of a faint smell of wood 
smoke mingled with the confused murmur of agitated voices. 
This came to her through an opening no higher than her head 
in her kneeling posture, and no wider than the breadth of two 
stakes. Lingard was saying in a tone of distress : 

" I couldn't get any of them to imbar the gate." 

She was unable to make a sound. — "Are you there?" 
Lingard asked, anxiously, so close to her now that she seemed 
to feel the very breath of his words on her face. It revived 
her completely; she understood what she had to do. She 
put her head and shoulders through the opening, was at once 
seized under the arms by an eager grip and felt herself pulled 
through with an irresistible force and with such haste that 
her scarf was dragged off her head, its fringes having caught 
in the rough timber. The same eager grip lifted her up, 
stood her on her feet without her having to make any exertion 
towards that end. She became aware that Lingard was trying 
to say something, but she heard only a confused stammering 
expressive of wonder and deUght in which she caught the 
words "You . . . you . . ." deHriously repeated. 
He didn't release his hold of her; his helpful and irresistible 
grip had changed into a close clasp, a crushing embrace, the 
violent taking possession by an embodied force that had 
broken loose and was not to be controlled any longer. As 
his great voice had done a moment before, his great strength, 
too, seemed able to fill all space in its enveloping and imdeni- 
able authOTity. Every time she tried instinctively to stiffai 


Jierself against its might, it reacted affirming its fierce will, 
its uplifting power. Several times she lost the feeling of the 
ground and had a sensation of helplessness without fear, of 
triumph without exultation. The inevitable had come to 
pass. She had foreseen it — and all the time in that dark 
place and against the red glow of camp-fires within the stock- 
ade the man in whose arms she struggled remained shadowy 
to her eyes — to her half -closed eyes. She thought suddenly: 
"He will crush me to death without knowing it." 

He was like a bUnd force. She closed her eyes altogether. 
Her head fell back a little. Not instinctively but with wilful 
resignation and as it were from a sense of justice she aban- 
doned herself to his arms. The effect was as though she had 
suddenly stabbed him to the heart. He let her go so suddenly 
and completely that she would have fallen down in a heap 
if she had not managed to catch hold of his forearm. He 
seemed prepared for it and for a moment all her weight hung 
on it without moving its rigidity by a hair's breadth. Behind 
her Mrs. Travers heard the hea\'y thud of blows on wood, the 
confused murmurs and movements of men. 

A voice said suddenly :" It's done "with such emphasis that 
though, of course, she didn't understand the words it helped 
her to regain possession of herself; and when Lingard asked 
her very little above a whisper: "Why don't you say some- 
thing? " she answered, readily : "Let me get my breath first." 

Round them all sounds had ceased. The men had secured 
again the opening through which those arms had snatched 
her into a moment of self-forgetfulness which had left her 
out of breath but uncrushed. As if something imperative 
had been satisfied she had a moment of inward serenity, 
a period of peace without thought while, holding to that arm 
that trembled no more than an arm of iron, she felt stealth- 
ily over the ground for one of the sandals which she had lost. 
Oh, yes, there was no doubt of it, she had been carried off 
the earth, without shame, without regret. But she would 
not have let him know of that dropped sandal for anything 
in the world. That lost sandal was as symbolic as a dropped 
veil. But he did not know of it. He must never know. 


Where was that thing? She felt sure that they had not 
moved an inch from that spot. Presently her foot found it 
and still gripping Lingard's forearm she stooped to secure 
it properly. When she stood up, still holding his arm, they 
confronted each other, he rigid in an effort of self-command 
but feeling as if the surges of the heaviest sea that he could 
remember in his life were running through his heart; and 
the woman as if emptied of all feeling by her experience, 
without thought yet, but beginning to regain her sense of 
the situation and the memory of the immediate past. 

"I have been watching at that loophole for an hour, ever 
since they came running to me with that story of the-rockets," 
said Lingard. "I was shut up with Belarab then. I was 
looking out when the torch blazed and you stepped ashore. 
I thought I was dreaming. But what could I do? I felt I 
must rush to you but I dared not. That clump of palms 
is full of men. So are the houses you saw that time you 
came ashore with me. Full of men. Armed men. A trig- 
ger'^isNsoon pulled and when once shooting begins. . . . 
And you walking in the open with that light above your 
head! I didn't dare. You [were safer alone. I had the 
strength to hold myself in and watch you come up from the 
shore. No! No man that ever lived had seen such a sight. 
What did you come for?" 

"Didn't you expect somebody? I don't mean me, I 
mean a messenger? " 

"No!" said Lingard, wondering at his own self-control. 
"Why did he let you come?" 

"You mean Captain Jorgenson? Oh, he refused at first. 
He said that he had your orders." 

"How on earth did you manage to get round him?" said 
Lingard in his softest tones. 

"I did not try," she began and checked herself. Lingard's 
question, though he really didn't seem to care much about 
an answer, had aroused afresh her suspicion of Jorgenson 's 
change of front. "I didn't have to say very much at the 
last," she continued, gasping yet a little and feeling her 
personaUty, crushed to nothing in the hug of those arms. 


expand again to its full significance before the attentive 
immobility of that man. "Captain Jorgenson has always 
looked upon me as a nuisance. Perhaps he had made up his 
mind to get rid of me even against your orders. Is he 
quite sane?" 

She released her firm hold of that iron forearm which 
fell slowly by Lingard's side. She had regained fuUy the 
possession of her personality. There remained only a fading, 
slightly breathless impression of a short flight above that 
earth on which her feet were &mly planted now. "And is 
that all?" she asked kerself, not bitterly, but with a sort of 
tender contempt. 

"He is so sane," seunded Lingard's voice, gloomily, "that 
if I had hstened to him you would not have found me here." 

" What do you mean by here? In this stockade? " 

"Anywhere," he said. 

"And what would have happened then? " 

" God knows," he answered. " What would have happened 
if the world had not been made in seven days? I have known 
you for just about that time. It began by me coming to you 
at night — ^like a thief in the night. Where the devil did I 
hear that? And that man you are married to thinks I am 
no better than a thief." 

"It ought to be enough for you that I never made a mis- 
take as to what you are, that I come to you in less than 
twenty-four hours after you left me contemptuously to my 
distress. Don't pretend you didn't hear me caU after you. 
Oh, yes, you heard. The whole ship heard me for I had no 

"Yes, you came," said Lingard, violently. "But have 
you really come? I can't believe my eyes! Are you really 

"This is a dark spot, luckily," said Mrs. Travers. "But 
can you really have any doubt?" she added, significantly. 

He made a sudden movement towards her, betraying so 
much passion that Mrs. Travers thought "I shan't come out 
alive this time, " and yet he was there, motionless before her, 
as though he had never stirred. It was more as though the 


earth had made a sudden movement under his feet without 
being able to destroy his balance. But the earth under Mrs. 
Travers' feet had made no movement and for a second she 
was overwhelmed by wonder not at this proof of her own 
self-possession but at the man's immense power over him- 
self. If it had not been for her strange inward exhaustion 
she would perhaps have surrendered to that power. But it 
seemed to her that she had nothing in her worth surrender- 
ing, and it was in a perfectly even tone that she said "Give 
me your arm, Captain Lingard. We can't stay all night on 
this spot." 

As they moved on she thought: "There is real greatness 
in that man." No apologies, no explanations; no abase- 
ment, no violence, and not even the slightest tremor of the 
frame holding that bold and perplexed soul. She knew that 
for certain because her fingers were resting lightly on Lin- 
gard's arm while she walked slowly by his side as though he 
were taking her down to dinner. And yet she couldn't sup- 
pose for a moment, that, like herself, he was emptied of all 
emotion. She never before was so aware of him as a dan- 
gerous force. "He is really ruthless," she thought. They 
had just left the shadow of the inner defences about the gate 
when a slightly hoarse, apologetic voice was heard behind 
them repeating insistently, what even Mrs. Travers' ear de- 
tected to be a sort of formula. The words were "There is 
this thing — there is this thing — there is this thing." They 
turned round. 

"Oh, my scarf," said Mrs. Travers. 

A short, squat, broad-faced young fellow having for all 
costume a pair of white drawers was offering the scarf thrown 
over both his arms, as if they had been sticks, and holding it 
respectfully as far as possible from his person. Lingard took 
it from him and Mrs. Travers claimed it at once. "Don't 
forget the proprieties," she said. " This is also my face veil." 

She was arranging it about her head when Lingard said, 
"There is no need. I am taking you to those gentlemen." — 
"I will use it all the same," said Mrs. Travers. "This thing 
works both ways, as a matter of propriety or as a matter of 


precaution. Till I have an opportunity of looking into a 
mirror nothing will persuade me that there isn't some change 
in my face." Lingard swung half round and gazed down at 
her. Veiled now she confronted him boldly. "Tell me, 
Captain Lingard, how many eyes were looking at us a little 
while ago.''" 

"Do you care?" he asked. 

"Not in the least," she said. "A milhon stars were look- 
ing on, too, and what did it matter? They were not of the 
world I know. And it's just the same with the eyes. They 
are not of the world I live in." 

Lingard thought: "Nobody is." Never before had she 
seemed to him more unapproachable, more different and 
more remote. The glow of a number of small fires hghted 
the ground only, and brought out the black bulk of men 
lying down in the thin drift of smoke. Only one of these 
fires, rather apart and burning in front of the house which was 
the quarter of the prisoners, might have been called a blaze 
and even that was not a great one. It didn't penetrate the 
dark space between the piles and the depth of the verandah 
above where only a couple of heads and the glint of a spear- 
head could be seen dimly in the play of the light. But down 
on the ground outside, the black shape of a man seated on a 
bench had an intense relief. Another intensely black shadow 
threw a handful of brushwood on the fire and went away. 
The man on the bench got up. It was d'Alcacer. He let 
Lingard and Mrs. Travers come quite close up to him. 
Extreme surprise seemed to have made him dumb. 

"You diin't expect . . ." began Mrs. Travers with 
some embarrassment before that mute attitude. 

"I doubted my eyes," struck in d'Alcacer, who seemed 
embarrassed, too. Next moment he recovered his tone and 
confessed simply: "At the moment I wasn't thinking of you, 
Mrs. Travers." He passed his hand over his forehead, "I 
hardly know what I was thinking of." 

In the light of the shooting-up flame Mrs. Travers could 
see d'Alcacer's face. There was no smile on it. She could 
not remember ever seeing him so grave and, as it were, so 


distant. She abandoned Lingard's arm and moved closer to 
the fire. 

" I fancy you were very far away, Mr. d'Alcacer," she said. 

"This is the sort of freedom of which nothing can deprive 
us," he observed, looking hard at the manner in which the 
scarf was drawn across Mrs. Travers' face. "It's possible 
I was far away," he went on, "but I can assure you that I 
don't know where I was. Less than an hour ago we had a' 
great excitement here about some rockets but I didn't share 
in it. There was no one I could ask a question of. The Cap- 
tain here was, I understood, engaged in a most momentous 
conversation with the king or the governor of this place." 

He addressed Lingard, directly. "May I ask whether 
you have reached any conclusion as yet? That Moor is a 
very dilatory person, I believe." 

"Any direct attack he would, of course, resist," said Lin- 
gard. "And, so far, you are protected. But I must admit 
that he is rather angry with me. He's tired of the whole busi- 
ness. He loves peace above anything in the world. But I 
haven't finished with him yet." 

"As far as I imderstood from what you told me before," 
said Mr. d'Alcacer, with a quick side glance at Mrs. Travers' 
uncovered and attentive eyes, "as far as I can see he may get 
all the peace he wants at once by driving us two, I mean Mr. 
Travers and myself, out of the gate on to the spears of those 
other enraged barbarians. And there are some of his coun- 
sellors who advise him to do that very thing no later than the 
break of day — ^I understand." 

Lingard stood for a moment perfectly motionless. 

"That's about it," he said in an unemotional tone, and 
went away with a heavy step without giving another look to 
d'Alcacer and Mrs. Travers, who, after a moment, faced each 

"You have heard.?" said d'Alcacer. "Of course that 
doesn't aflFect your fate in any way, and as to him he is much 
too prestigious to be killed light-heartedly. When all this 
is over you will walk tritimphantly on his arm out of 
this stockade; for there is nothing in all this to affect his 


greatness, his absolute value in the eyes of those people — 
and indeed in any other eyes." D'AJeacer kept his glance 
averted from Mrs. Travers and as soon as he had finished 
speaking busied himself in dragging the bench a little way 
further from the fire. When they sat down on it he kept his 
distance from Mrs. Travers. She made no sign of unveiling 
herself and her eyes without a face seemed to him strangely 
unknown and disquieting. 

"The situation in a nutshell," she said. "You have ar- 
ranged it all beautifully, even to my triumphal exit. Well, 
and what then? No, you needn't answer, it has no interest. 
I assure you I came here not with any notion of marching 
out in triumph, as you call it. I came here, to speak in the 
most vulgar way, to save your skin — and mine." 

Her voice came muffled to d'Alcacer's ears with a changed 
character, even to the very intonation. Above the white 
and embroidered scarf her eyes in the fire-light transfixed 
him, black and so steady that even the red sparks of the re- 
flected glare did not move in them. He concealed the strong 
impression she made. He bowed his head a little. 

"I believe you know perfectly well what you are doing." 

"No! I don't know," she said, more quickly than he 
had ever heard her speak before. "First of all, I don't think 
he is so safe as you imagine. Oh, yes, he has prestige enough, 
I don't question that. But you are apportioning life and 
death with too much assurance. . . ." 

"I know my portion," murmured d'Alcacer, gently. 

A moment of silence fell in which Mrs. Travers' eyes ended 
by intimidating d'Alcacer, who looked away. The flame of 
the fire had sunk low. In the dark agglomeration of build- 
ings, which might have been called Belarab's palace, there 
was a certain animation, a flitting of people, voices caUing 
and answering, the passing to and fro of lights that would 
illuminate suddenly a heavy pile, the corner of a house, the 
eaves of a low-pitched roof, while in the open parts of the stock- 
ade the armed men slept by the expiring fires. 

Mrs. Travers said, suddenly, "That Jorgenson is not very 
friendly to us." 



With clasped hands and leaning over his knees d'Alcacer 
had assented in a very low tone. Mrs. Travers, unobserved, 
pressed her hands to her breast and felt the shape of the ring, 
thick, heavy, set with a big stone. It was there, secret, hung 
against her heart, and enigmatic. What did it mean? What 
could it mean? What was the feeling it could arouse or the 
action it could provoke? And she thought with compunc- 
tion that she ought to have given it to Lingard at once, with- 
out thinking, without hesitating. "There! This is what I 
came for. To give you this." Yes, but there had come an 
interval when she had been able to think of nothing, and since 
then she had had the time to reflect — unfortunately. To 
remember Jorgenson's hostile, contemptuous glance envelop- 
ing her from head to foot at the break of day after a night 
of lonely anguish. And now while she sat there veiled from his 
keen sight there was that other man, that d'Alcacer, prophe- 
sying. Oh, yes, triumphant. She knew abeady what that 
was. Mrs. Travers became afraid of the ring. She felt ready 
to pluck it from her neck and cast it away. 

"I mistrust him," she said. — "You do!" exclaimed d'Alca- 
cer, very low. — " I mean that Jorgenson. He seems a merci- 
less sort of creature." "He is indifferent to everything," 
said d'Alcacer. — "It may be a mask." — "Have you any evi- 
dence, Mrs. Travers?" 

"No," said Mrs. Travers without hesitation, "I have my 

D'Alcacer remained silent for a while as though he were 
pursuing another train of thought altogether, then in a gen- 
tle, almost playful tone: "If I were a woman," he said, turn- 
ing to Mrs. Travers, "I would always trust my intuition." — 
"If you were a woman, Mr. d'Alcacer, I would not be speak- 
ing to you in this way because then I would be suspect to 

The thought that before long perhaps he would be neither 
man nor woman but a lump of cold clay, crossed d'Alcacer's 
mind, which was living, alert and unsubdued by the danger. 
He had welcomed the arrival of Mrs. Travers simply because 


he had been very lonely in that stockade, Mr. Travers having 
fallen into a phase of sulks complicated with shivering fits. Of 
Lingard d'Alcacer had seen almost nothing since they had 
landed, for the Man of Fate was extremely busy negotiat- 
ing in the recesses of Belarab's main hut; and the thought 
that his life was being a matter of arduous bargaining was not 
agreeable to Mr. d'Alcacer. The Chief's dependents and the 
armed men garrisoning the stockade paid very little attention 
to him apparently, and this gave him the feeling of his cap- 
tivity being very perfect and hopeless. During the after- 
noon, while pacing to and fro in the bit of shade thrown by 
the glorified sort of hut inside which Mr. Travers shivered 
and sulked misanthropically, he had been aware of the more 
distant verandahs becoming filled now and then by the muf- 
fled forms of women of Belarab's household taking a distant 
and curious view of the white man. All this was irksome. 
He found his menaced life extremely difficult to get through. 
Yes, he welcomed the arrival of Mrs. Travers who brought 
with her a tragic note into the empty gloom. 

" Suspicion is not in my nature, Mrs. Travers, I assure you, 
and I hope that you on your side will never suspect either 
my reserve or my frankness. I respect the mysterious nature 
of your conviction but hasn't Jorgenson given you some oc- 
casion to. . . '." 

"He hates me," said Mrs. Travers, and frowned at d'Alca- 
cer's incipient smile. "It isn't a delusion on my part. The 
worst is that he hates me not for myself. I believe he is 
completely indifferent to my existence. Jorgenson hates me 
because as it were I represent you two who are in danger, be- 
cause it is you two that are the trouble and I . . . Well!" 

"Yes, yes, that's certain," said d'Alcacer, hastily. "But 
Jorgenson is wrong in making you the scapegoat. For if you 
were not here cool reason would step in and would make 
Lingard pause in his passion to make a king out of an exile. 
If we were murdered it would certainly make some stir in 
the world in time and he would fall under the suspicion of 
complicity with those wild and inhuman Moors. Who would 
regard the greatness of his day-dreams, his engaged honour. 


his chivalrous feelings? Nothing could save him from that 
suspicion. And being what he is, you understand me, Mrs. 
Travers (but you know him much better than I do), it would 
morally kill him." 

"Heavens!" whispered Mrs. Travers. "This has never 
occurred to me." Those words seemed to lose themselves in; 
the folds of the scarf without reaching d'Alcacer, who con- 
tinued in his gentle tone: 

"However, as it is, he will be safe enough whatever hap- 
pens. He will have your testimony to clear him." 

Mrs. Travers stood up, suddenly, but still careful to keep 
her face covered she threw the end of the scarf over her 

"I fear that Jorgenson," she cried with suppressed pas- 
sion. "One can't understand what that man means to do. 
I think him so dangerous that if I were, for instance, en- 
trusted with a message bearing on the situation, I would 
. . . suppress it." 

D'Alcacer was looking up from the seat, full of wonder. 
Mrs. Travers appealed to him in a calm voice through the 
folds of the scarf: 

"Tell me, Mr. d'Alcacer, you who can look on it calmly, 
wouldn't I be right?" 

"Why, has Jorgenson told you anything?" 

"Directly — nothing, except a phrase or two which really 
I coidd not understand. They seemed to have a hidden 
sense and he appeared to attach some mysterious importance 
to them that he dared not explain to me." 

"That was a risk on his part," exclaimed d'Alcacer. "And 
he trusted you. Why you, I wonder ! " 

"Who can tell what notions he has in his head? Mr. 
d'Alcacer, I believe his only object is to call Captain Lingard 
away from us. I imderstood it only a few minutes ago. It 
has dawned upon me. I understand it all. All he wants is 
to call him off." 

"Call him off," repeated d'Alcacer, a little bewildered by 
the aroused fire of her conviction. "I am sure I don't want 
him called off any more than you do; and, frankly, I don't 


believe Jorgenson has any such power. But upon the whole, 
and if you feel that Jorgenson has the power, I would — yes, 
if I were in your place I think I would suppress anything 
I could not understand." 

Mrs. Travers listened to the very end. Her eyes — they 
appeared incredibly sombre to d'Alcacer — seemed to watch 
the fall of every deliberate word and after he had ceased they 
remained still for an appreciable time. Then she turned 
away with a gesture that seemed to say " So be it." 

D'Alcacer raised his voice suddenly after her. "Stay! 
Don't forget that not only your husband's but my head, too, 
is being played at that game. My judgment is not. . . ." 

She stopped for a moment and freed her lips. In the 
profound stillness of the courtyard her clear voice made the 
shadows at the nearest fires stir a little with low murmurs 
of surprise. 

"Oh, yes, I remember whose heads I have to save," she 
cried. "But in all the world who is there to save that man 
from himself?" 

D'ALCACER sat dovm on the bench again. " I wonder 
what she knows," he thought, "and I wonder what I 
have done." He wondered also how far he had been 
sincere and how far affected by a very natural aversion from 
being murdered obscurely by ferocious Moors with all 
the circumstances of barbarity. It was a very naked death 
to come upon one suddenly. It was robbed of all help- 
ful illusions, such as the free will of a suicide, the heroism of 
a warrior, or the exaltation of a martyr. "Hadn't I better 
make some sort of fight of it? " he debated with himself. He 
saw himself rushing at the naked spears without any enthusi- 
asm. Or wouldn't it be better to go forth to meet his doom 
(somewhere outside the stockade on that horrible beach) 
with calm dignity. "Pah! I shall be probably speared 
through the back in the beastliest possible fashion," he 
thought with an inward shudder. It was certainly not a 
shudder of fear, for Mr. d'Alcacer attached no high value to 
life. It was a shudder of disgust because Mr. d'Alcacer was 
a civilized man and though he had no illusions about civiliza- 
tion he could not but admit the superiority of its methods. 
It offered to one a certain refinement of form, a comeliness 
of proceedings and definite safeguards against deadly sur- 
prises. "How idle all this is, " he thought, finally. His next 
thought was that women were very resourceful. "It was 
true," he went on, meditating with unwonted cynicism, that 
strictly speaking they had only one resoiu"ce but, generally, 
it served — it served. 

He was surprised by his supremely shameless bitterness at 
this juncture. It was so uncalled for. This situation was too 
complicated to be entrusted to a cynical or shameless hope. 
There was nothing to trust to. At this moment of his 



meditation he became aware of Lingard's approach. He 
raised his head eagerly. D'Alcacer was not indifferent 
to his fate and even to Mr. Travers' fate. He would fain 
learn. . . . But one look at Lingard's face was enough. 
"It's no use asking him anything," he said to himself, "for 
he cares for nothing just now." 

Lingard sat down heavily on the other end of the bench, 
and d'Alcacer, looking at his profile, confessed to himself that 
this was the most masculinely good-looking face he had ever 
seen in his life. It was an expressive face, too, but its present 
expression was also beyond d'Alcacer's past experience. At 
the same time its quietness set up a barrier against common 
curiosities and even common fears. No, it was no use ask- 
ing him anything. Yet something should be said to break 
the spell, to call down again this man to the earth. But it 
was Lingard who spoke first. "Where is Mrs. Travers gone 

"She is gone . . . where naturally she would be anx- 
ious to go first of all since she has managed to come to us," 
answered d'Alcacer, wording his answer with the utmost re- 
gard for the delicacy of the situation. 

The stillness of Lingard seemed to have grown even more 
impressive. He spoke again. 

"I wonder what those two can have to say to each other." 

He might have been asking that of the whole darkened 
part of the globe, but it was d'Alcacer who answered in his 
courteous tones. 

"Would it surprise you very much. Captain Lingard, if I 
were to tell you that those two people are quite fit to under- 
stand each other thoroughly? Yes? It surprises you ! Well, 
I assure you that seven thousand miles from here nobody 
would wonder." 

"I think I imderstand," said Lingard, "but don't you 
know the man is hght-headed. A man like that is as good 
as mad." 

"Yes, he has been slightly delirious since seven o'clock," 
said d'Alcacer. "But believe me. Captain Lingard," he 
continued, earnestly, and obeying a perfectly disinterested 


impulse, "that even in his delirium he is more understandable 
to her and better able to understand her than . . . any- 
body within a hundred miles from here." 

"Ah!" said Lingard without any emotion, "so you don't 
wonder. You don't see any reason for wonder." 

"No, for don't you see I do know." 

"What do you know?" 

"Men and women. Captain Lingard, which you. . . »". 

"I don't know any woman." 

"You have spoken the strictest truth there," said d'Al- 
cacer, and for the first time Lingard turned his head slowly 
and looked at his neighbour on the bench. 

"Do you think she is as good as mad, too?" asked Lingard 
in a startled voice. 

D'Alcacer let escape a low exclamation. No, certainly 
he did not think so. It was certainly an original notion to 
suppose that lunatics had a sort of common logic which 
made them understandable to each other. D'Alcacer tried 
to make his voice as gentle as possible while he piu-sued: 
"No, Captain Lingard, I believe the woman of whom we 
speak is and will always remain in the fullest possession of 

Lingard, leaning back, clasped his hands round his knees. 
He seemed not to be listening and d'Alcacer, pulling a ciga- 
rette case out of his pocket, looked for a long time at the 
three cigarettes it contained. It was the last of the pro- 
vision he had on him when captured. A cigarette was 
only to be lighted on special occasions; and now there were 
only three left and they had to be made to last till the end of 
life. They calmed, they soothed, they gave an attitude. 
And only three left! One had to be kept for the morning, to 
be lighted before going through the gate of doom — the gate 
of Belarab's stockade. Acigarette soothed,it gave an attitude. 
Was this the fitting occasion for one of the remaining two? 
D'Alcacer, a true Latin, was not afraid of a little intro- 
spection. In the pause he descended into the innermost 
depths of his being, then glanced up at the night sky. Sports- 
man, traveller, he had often looked up like this before to see 


how time went. It was going very slowly. He took out a 
cigarette, snapped to the case, bent down to the embers. 
Then he sat up and blew out a thin cloud of smoke. The 
man by his side looked with his bowed head and clasped knee 
like a masculine rendering of mournful meditation. Such 
attitudes are met with sometimes on the sculptures of ancient 
tombs. D'Alcacer began to speak: 

"She is a representative woman and yet one of those of 
whom there are but very few at any time in the world. Not 
that they are very rare but that there is but little room on 
top. They are the iridescent gleams on a hard and dark 
surface. For the world is hard, Captain Lingard, it is 
hard, both in what it will remember and in what it will for- 
get. It is for such women that people toil on the ground 
and underground and artists of all sorts invoke their inspi- 

Lingard seemed not to have heard a word. His chin 
rested on his breast. D'Alcacer appraised the remaining 
length of his cigarette and went on in an equable tone through 
which pierced a certain sadness : 

"No, there are not many of them. And yet they are aD. 
They decorate our life for us. They are the gracious figures 
on the drab waU which lies on this side of our common grave. 
They lead a sort of ritual dance, that most of us have agreed 
to take seriously. It is a very binding agreement with which 
sincerity and good faith and honour have nothing to do. 
Very binding. Woe to him or her who breaks it. Directly 
they leave the pageant they get lost." 

Lingard turned his head sharply and discovered d'Alcacer 
looking at him with profound attention. 

"They get lost in a maze," continued d'Alcacer, quietly. 
"They wander in it lamenting over themselves. I 
would shudder at that fate for anything I loved. Do you 
know. Captain Lingard, how those lost in a maze end?" he 
went on holding Lingard by a steadfast stare. "No? I 
will teU you then. They end by hating their very selves, 
and they die in disillusion and despair." 

As if afraid of the force of his words d'Alcacer laid a sooth- 


ing hand lightly on Lingard's shoulder. But Lingard con- 
tinued to look into the embers at his feet and remained 
insensible to the friendly touch. Yet d'Alcacer could not 
imagine that he had not been heard. He folded his arms on 
his breast. 

"I don't know why I have been telling you all this," he 
said, apologetically. "I hope I have not been intruding on 
your thoughts." 

"I can think of nothing," Lingard declared, unexpectedly. 
"I only know that your voice was friendly; and for the 
rest " 

"One must get through a night like this somehow," said 
d'Alcacer. "The very stars seem to lag on their way. It's 
a common belief that a drowning man is irresistibly com- 
pelled to review his past experience. Just now I feel quite 
out of my depth, and whatever I have said has come from 
my experience. I am sure you wiU forgive me. All that it 
amounts to is this: that it is natural for us to cry for the 
moon but it would be very fatal to have our cries heard. 
For what could any one of us do with the moon if it were 
given to him? I am speaking now of us — common mortals." 

It was not immediately after d'Alcacer had ceased speaking 
but only after a moment that Lingard unclasped his fingers, got 
up and walked away. D'Alcacer followed with a glance of 
quiet interest the big, shadowy form till it vanished in the 
direction of an enormous forest tree left in the middle of the 
stockade. The deepest shade of the night was spread over 
the ground of Belarab's fortified courtyard. The very 
embers of the fires had turned black, showing only here and 
there a mere spark; and the forms of the prone sleepers could 
hardly be distinguished from the hard ground on which they 
rested, with their arms lying beside them on the mats. Pres- 
ently Mrs. Travers appeared quite close to d'Alcacer, who 
rose instantly. 

"Martin is asleep," said Mrs. Travers in a tone that seemed 
to have borrowed something of the mystery and quietness 
of the night. 

"All the world's asleep," observed d'Alcacer, so low that 


Mrs. Travers barely caught the words, "Except you and I, 
and one other who has left me to wander about in the 

"Was he with you? Where has he gone ? " 

"Where it's darkest I should think," answered d'Alcacer, 
secretly. "It's no use going to look for him; but if you keep 
perfectly still and hold your breath you may presently hear 
his footsteps." 

"What did he tell you?" breathed out Mrs. Travers. 

"I didn't ask him anything. I only know that something 
has happened which has robbed him of his power of think- 
ing. . . Hadn't I better go to the hut? Don Martin 
ought to have someone with him when he wakes up." Mrs. 
Travers remained perfectly still and even now and then held 
her breath with a vague fear of hearing those footsteps 
wandering in the dark. D'Alcacer had disappeared. 
Again Mrs. Travers held her breath. No. Nothing. Not 
a sound. Only the night to her eyes seemed to have grown 
darker. Was that a footstep? " Where could I hide myself?" 
she thought. But she didn't move. 

After leaving d'Alcacer, Lingard threading his way be- 
tween the fires found himself under the big tree, the same 
tree against which Daman had been leaning on the day of 
the great talk when the white prisoners had been surrendered 
to Lingard's keeping on definite conditions. Lingard passed 
through the deep obscurity made by the outspread boughs of 
the only witness left there of a past that for endless ages had 
seen no mankind on this shore defended by the shallows, 
around this lagoon overshadowed by the jungle. In the 
calm night the old giant, without shudders or murmurs in its 
enormous limbs, saw the restless man drift through the black 
shade into the starlight. 

In that distant part of the courtyard there were only a few 
sentries who, themselves invisible, saw Lingard's white 
figure pace to and fro endlessly. They knew well who that 
was. It was the great white man. A very great man. A 
very rich man. A possessor of fire-arms, who could dispense 


valuable gifts and deal deadly blows, the friend of their 
Ruler, the enemy of his enemies, known to them for years 
and always mysterious. At their posts, flattened against 
the stakes near convenient loopholes, they cast backward 
glances and exchanged faint whispers from time to time. 

Lingard might have thought himself alone. He had lost 
touch with the world. What he had said to d'Alcacer was 
f)erfectly true. He had no thought. He was in the state 
of a man who, having cast his eyes through the open gates of 
Paradise, is rendered insensible by that moment's vision to 
all the forms and matters of the earth, and in the extremity 
of his emotion ceases even to look upon himself but as the 
subject of a sublime experience which exalts or unfits, sanc- 
tifies or damns — ^he didn't know which. Every shadowy 
thought, every passing sensation was like a base intrusion 
on that supreme memory. He couldn't bear it. 

When he had tried to resume his conversation with Bel- 
arab after Mrs. Travers' arrival he had discovered himself 
unable to go on. He had just enough self-control to break 
off the interview in measured terms. He pointed out the 
lateness of the hour, a most astonishing excuse to people to 
whom time is nothing and whose life and activities are not 
ruled by the clock. Indeed Lingard hardly knew what he 
was saying or doing when he went out again leaving every- 
body dumb with astonishment at the change in his aspect 
and in his behaviour. A suspicious silence reigned for a 
long time in Belarab's great audience room till the Chief dis- 
missed everybody by two quiet words and a sUght gesture. 

With her chin in her hand in the pose of a sybil trying to 
read the future in the glow of dying embers, Mrs. Travers, 
without holding her breath, heard quite close to her the foot- 
steps which she had been listening for with mingled alarm, 
remorse and hope. 

She didn't change her attitude. The deep red glow lighted 
her up dimly, her face, the white hand hanging by her side, 
her feet in their sandals. The disturbing footsteps stopped 
close to her. 


"Where have you been all this time?" she asked, without 
looking round. 

"I don't know," answered Lingard. He was speaking the 
exact truth. He didn't know. Ever since he had released 
that woman from his arms everything but the vaguest notions 
had departed from him. Events, necessities, things — he had 
lost his grip on them all. And he didn't care. They were 
futile and impotent; he had no patience with them. The 
offended and astonished Belarab, d'Alcacer with his kindly 
touch and friendly voice, the sleeping men, the men awake, 
the Settlement full of unrestf ul life and the restless shallows 
of the coast, were removed from him into an immensity of 
pitying contempt. Perhaps they existed. Perhaps all this 
waited for him. Well, let all this wait; let everything wait, 
till to-morrow or to the end of time, which could now come 
at any moment for all he cared — but certainly till to-morrow. 

"I only know," he went on with an emphasis that made 
Mrs. Travers raise her head, "that wherever I go I shall 
carry you with me — against my breast." 

Mrs. Travers' fine ear caught the mingled tones of sup- 
pressed exultation and dawning fear, the ardour and the 
faltering of those words. She was feeling still the physical 
truth at the root of them so strongly that she couldn't help 
saying in a dreamy whisper: 

"Did you mean to crush the life out of me.''" 

He answered in the same tone: 

"I could not have done it. You are too strong. Was I 
rough? I didn't mean to be. I have been often told I didn't 
know my own strength. You did not seem able to get through 
that opening and so I caught hold of you. You came away 
in my hands quite easily. Suddenly I thought to myself, 
'now I will make sure' . . ." 

He paused as if his breath had failed him. Mrs. Travers 
dared not make the slightest movement. Still in the pose 
of one in quest of hidden truth she murmured: "Make sure?" 

" Yes. And now I am sure. You are here — here ! Before 
I couldn't teU." 

"Oh, you couldn't tell before," she said. 



"So it was reality that you were seeking." 

He repeated as if speaking to himself: "And now I 
am sure." 

Her sandalled foot, all rosy in the glow, felt the warmth 
of the embers. The tepid night had enveloped her body; 
and still imder the impression of his strength she gave herself 
up to a momentary feeling of quietude that came about her 
heart as soft as the night air penetrated by the feeble clear- 
ness of the stars. "This is a limpid soid," she thought. 

"You know I always believed in you," he began again. 
"You know I did. Well. I never believed in you so much as 
I do now, as you sit there, just as you are and with hardly 
enough light to make you out by." 

It occmred to her that she had never heard a voice she liked 
so weU — except one. But that had been a great actor's voice; 
whereas this man was nothing in the world but his very own 
self. He persuaded, he moved, he disturbed, he soothed by 
his inherent truth. He had wanted to make sure and he had 
made sure apparently; and too weary to resist the wayward- 
ness of her thoughts Mrs. Travers reflected with a sort of 
amusement that apparently he had not been disappointed. 
She thought " he believes in me. What amazing words. Of 
all the people that might have believed in me I had to find 
this one here. He believes in me more than in himself." A 
gust of sudden remorse tore her out from her quietness, made 
her cry out to him: 

"Captain Lingard, we forget how we have met, we forget 
what is going on. We mustn't. I won't say that you 
placed your belief wrongly but I have to confess something 
to you. I must tell you how I came here to-night. Jor- 
genson . . ." 

He interrupted her forcibly but without raising his voice: 

" Jorgenson. Who's Jorgenson? You came to me because 
you couldn't help yourself." 

This took her breath away. "But I must tell you. There 
is something in my coming which is not clear to me." 

"You can tell me nothing that I don't know abeady," he 


said in a pleading tone. "Say nothing. Sit still. Time 
enough to-morrow. To-morrow! The night is drawing to 
an end and I care for nothing in the world but you. Let 
me be. Give me the rest that is in you." 

She had never heard such accents on his lips and she felt 
for him a great and tender pity. Why not humour this 
mood in which he wanted to preserve the moments that would 
never come to him again on this earth. She hesitated in 
silence. She saw him stir in the darkness as if he could not 
make up his mind to sit down on the bench. But suddenly 
he scattered the embers with his foot and sank on the ground 
against her feet and she was not startled in the least to feel 
the weight of his head on her knee. Mrs. Travers was not 
startled but she felt profoimdly moved. Why should she 
torment him with all those questions of freedom and cap- 
tivity, of violence and intrigue, of life and death. He was 
not in a state to be told anything and it seemed to her that 
she didn't want to speak, that in the greatness of her 
compassion she simply couldn't speak. All she could do for 
him was to rest her hand lightly on his head and respond 
silently to the slight movement she felt, sigh or sob, but a 
movement which suddenly immobilized her in an anxious 

About the same time on the other side of the lagoon Jor- 
genson, raising his eyes, noted the stars and said to himself 
that the night would not last long now. He wished for day- 
light. He hoped that Lingard had already done something. 
The blaze in Tengga's compound had been re-lighted. Tom's 
power was unbounded, practically imbounded. And he was 

Jorgenson let his old eyes wander amongst the gleams 
and shadows of the great sheet of water between him and 
that hostile shore and fancied he could detect a floating 
shadow having the characteristic shape of a man in a 
small canoe. 

"O! Ya! Man!" he hailed. "What do you want?" 
Other eyes, too, had detected that shadow. Low murmurs 


arose on the deck of the Emma. " If you don't speak at once 
I shall fire," shouted JSrgenson, fiercely. 

"No, white man," returned the floating shape in a solemn 
drawl. " I am the bearer of friendly words. A chief's words. 
I come from Tengga." 

"There was a bullet that came on board not a long time 
ago — also from Tengga," said Jorgenson. 

"That was an accident," protested the voice from the 
lagoon. "What else could it be? Is there war between you 
and Tengga? No, no, O white man! All Tengga desires is 
a long talk. He has sent me to ask you to come ashore." 

At these words Jorgenson's heart sank a little. This in- 
vitation meant that Lingard had made no move. Was Tom 
asleep or altogether mad? 

"The talk would be of peace," declared impressively the 
shadow which had drifted much closer to the hulk now. 

"It isn't for me to talk with great chiefs," Jorgenson re- 
turned, cautiously. 

"But Tengga is a friend," argued the nocturnal messenger. 
" And by that fire there there are other friends. Your friends, 
the Rajah Hassim and the lady Immada, who send you their 
greetings and who expect their eyes to rest on you before sun- 

"That's a lie," remarked Jorgenson, perfunctorily, and fell 
into thought, while the shadowy bearer of words preserved 
a scandalized silence, though, of course, he had not expected 
to be believed for a moment. But one could never tell what 
a white man would believe. He had wanted to produce the 
impression that Hassim and Immada were the honoured 
guests of Tengga. It occxu-red to him suddenly that perhaps 
Jorgenson didn't know anything of the capture. And he 

"My words are all true, Tuan. The Rajah of Wajo and 
his sister are with my master. I left them sitting by the fire 
on Tengga's right hand. Will you come ashore to be wel- 
comed amongst friends?" 

Jorgenson had been refiecting profoundly. His object 
was to gain as much time as possible for Lingard's iuterfer- 


ence wMcli indeed could not fail to be effective. But he had 
not the shghtest intention to entrust himself to Tengga's 
friendliness. Not that he minded the risk; but he did not see 
the use of taking it. 

"No!" he said, "I can't go ashore. We white men have 
ways of our own and I am chief of this hulk. And my chief 
is the Rajah Laut, a white man like myself. All the words 
that matter are in him and if Tengga is such a great chief let 
him ask the Rajah Laut for a talk. Yes, that's the proper 
thing for Tengga to do if he is such a great chief as he says." 

"The Rajah Laut has made his choice. He dwells with 
Belarab, and with the white people who are huddled together 
like trapped deer in Belarab 's stockade. Why shouldn't you 
meantime go over where everything is lighted up and open 
and talk in friendship with Tengga's friends, whose hearts 
have been made sick by many doubts; Rajah Hassim and 
the lady Immada and Daman, the chief of the men of the sea, 
who do not know now whom they can trust imless it be you, 
Tuan, the keeper of much wealth." 

The diplomatist in the small dug-out paused for a moment 
to give special weight to the iinal argument. 

"Which you have no means to defend. We know how 
many armed men there are with you." 

"They are great fighters," Jorgenson observed, unconcern- 
edly, spreading his elbows on the rail and looking over at the 
floating black patch of characteristic shaj)e whence proceeded 
the voice of the wily envoy of Tengga. " Each man of them 
is worth ten of such as you can find in the Settlement." 

"Yes, by AUah. Even worth twenty of these common 
people. Indeed, you have enough with you to make a great 
fight but not enough for victory." 

" God alone gives victory," said suddenly the voice of Jaffir, 
who, very still at Jorgenson 's elbow, had been listening to the 

"Very true," was the answer in an extremely conventional 
tone. "Will you come ashore, O white man, and be the 
leader of chiefs?" 

"I have been that before," said Jorgenson, with great 


dignity, "and now all I want is peace. But I woa't come 
ashore amongst people whose minds are so much troubled, 
till Rajah Hassim and his sister return on board this ship 
and tell me the tale of their new friendship with Tengga." 

His heart was sinking with every minute, the very air was 
growing heavier with the sense of oncoming disaster, on that 
night that was neither war nor peace and whose only voice 
was the voice of Tengga's envoy, insinuating in tone though 
menacing in words. 

"No, that cannot be," said that voice. "But, Tuan, 
verily Tengga himself is ready to come on board here to talk 
with you. He is very ready to come and indeed, Tuan, he 
means to come on board here before very long." 

"Yes, with fifty war-canoes filled with the ferocious rabble 
of the Shore of Refuge," Jaffir was heard commenting, sar- 
castically, over the rail and a sinister muttered "It may be 
so" ascended alongside from the black water. 

Jorgenson kept silent as if waiting for a supreme inspira- 
tion and suddenly he spoke in his other-world voice: "Tell 
Tengga from me that as long as he brings with him Rajah 
Hassim and the Rajah's sister, he and his chief men will be 
welcome on deck here, no matter how many boats come along 
with them. For that I do not care. You may go now." 

A profovmd silence succeeded. It was clear that the envoy 
was gone, keeping in the shadow of the shore. J9rgenson 
turned to Jaffir. 

"Death amongst friends is but a festival," he quoted the 
saying, mumbUng in his moustache. 

"It is, by Allah," answered Jaffir with sombre feryour. 


THERTY-SIX hours later Carter, alone with lingard 
in the cabin of the brig, could almost feel in a pause in 
his talk the oppressive, the breathless peace of the 
shallows awaiting another sunset. 

"I never expected to see any of you alive," Carter began 
again in his easy tone, but with much less carelessness in his 
bearing as though his days of responsibility amongst the 
shoals of the Shore of Refuge had matured his view of the 
external worid and of his own place therein. 

"Of course not," muttered Lingard. 

The listlessness of that man whom he had always seen act- 
ing under the stress of a secret passion seemed jierfectly ap- 
palling to Carter's youthful and dehberate energy. Ever 
since he had found himself again face to face with Lingard 
he had tried to conceal the shocking impression with a deli- 
cacy which owed nothing to training but was as intuitive as a 

While justifying to Lingard his manner of dealing with the 
situation on the Shore of Refuge, he could not for the life of 
him help asking himself what was this new myste.ry. He was 
also young enough to long for a word of commendation. 

"Come, Captain," he argued; "how would you have hked 
to come out and find nothing but two half -burnt wrecks stuck 
on the sands— perhaps?" 

He waited for a moment, then in sheer compassion turned 
away his eyes from that fixed gaze, from that harassed face 
with sunk cheeks, from that figure of indomitable strength 
robbed of its fire. He said to himself : " He doesn't hear me," 
and raised his voice without altering its self-contained tone: 

"I was below yesterday morning when we felt the shock, 
but the noise came to us only as a deep rumble. I made 



one jump for the companion but that precious Shaw was be- 
fore me yelling "Earthquake! Earthquake!" and I am 
hanged if he didn't miss his footing and land down on his 
head at the bottom of the stairs. I had to stop to pick him 
up but I got on deck in time to see a mighty black cloud that 
seemed almost solid pop up from behind the forest like a bal- 
loon. It stayed there for quite a long time. Some of our 
calashes on deck swore to me that they had seen a red flash 
above the tree-tops. But that's hard to believe. I guessed 
at once that something had blown up on shore. My first 
thought was that I would never see you any more and I 
made up my mind at once to find out all the truth you have 
been keeping away from me. No, sir! Don't you make a 
mistake ! I wasn't going to give you up, dead or alive." 

He looked hard at Lingard while saying these words and 
saw the first sign of animation pass over that ravaged face. 
He saw even its lips move slightly; but there was no sound, 
and Carter looked away again. 

"Perhaps you would have done better by telling me every- 
thing; but you left me behind on my own to be your man 
here. I put my hand to the work I could see before me. I 
am a sailor. There were two ships to look after. And here 
they are both for you, fit to go or to stay, to fight or to run, 
as you choose." He watched with bated breath the effort 
Lingard had to make to utter the two words of the desired 
commendation : 

"Well done!" 

"And I am your man still," Carter added, impulsively, and 
hastened to look away from Lingard, who had tried to smile 
at him and had failed. Carter didn't know what to do next, 
remain in the cabin or leave that unsupported strong man to 
himself. With a shyness completely foreign to his character 
and which he could not understand himself, he suggested in an 
engaging murmur and with an embarrassed assumption of his 
right to give advice : 

"Why not lie down for a bit, sir? I can attend to any- 
thing that may turn up. You seem done up, sir." 

He was facing Lingard, who stood on the other side of the 


table in a leaning forward attitude propped up on rigid arms 
and stared fixedly at him — ^perhaps ? Carter felt on the verge 
of despair. This couldn't last. He was relieved to see Lin- 
gard shake his head slightly. 

" No, Mr. Carter. I think I will go on deck," said the Cap- 
tain of the famous brig Lightning, while his eyes roamed all 
over the cabin. Carter stood aside at once, but it was some 
httle time before Lingard made a move. 

The sun had sunk already, leaving that evening no trace 
of its glory on a sky clear as crystal and on the waters with- 
out a ripple. All colour seemed to have gone out of the 
world. The oncoming shadow rose as subtle as a per- 
fume from the black coast lying athwart the eastern semi- 
circle; and such was the silence within the horizon that one 
might have fancied oneself come to the end of time. Black 
and toylike in the clear depths and the final stillness of the 
evening the brig and the schooner lay anchored in the middle 
of the main channel with their heads swung the same way. 
Lingard, with his chin on his breast and his arms folded, 
moved slowly here and there about the poop. Close and 
mute Uke his shadow. Carter, at his elbow, followed his move- 
ments. He felt an anxious solicitude. . . . 

It was a sentiment perfectly new to him. He had never 
before felt this sort of solicitude about himself or any other 
man. His personality was being developed by new experi- 
ence, and as he was very simple he received the initiation 
with shyness and self-mistrust. He had noticed with in- 
nocent alarm that Lingard had not looked either at the sky 
or over the sea, neither at his own ship nor the schooner 
astern; not along the decks, not aloft, not anywhere. He 
had looked at nothing! And somehow Carter felt himself 
more lonely and without support than when he had been left 
alone by that man in charge of two ships entangled amongst 
the shallows and environed by some sinister mystery. Since 
that man had come back instead of welcome relief Carter felt 
his responsibility rest on his young shoulders with tenfold 
weight. His profound conviction was that Lingard should be 


"Captain Lingard," he burst out in desperation, "you 
can't say I have worried you very much since this morning 
when I received you at the side, but I must be told some- 
thing. What is it going to be with us? Fight or run? " 

Lingard stopped short and now there was no doubt in 
Carter's mind that the Captain was looking at him. There 
was no room for any doubt before that stern and enquiring 
gaze. "Aha!" thought Carter. "This has startled him"; 
and feeling that his shyness had departed he pursued his 
advantage. "For the fact of the matter is, sir, that, what- 
ever happens, unless I am to be your man you will have no 
officer. I had better tell you at once that I have bundled that 
respectable, crazy, fat Shaw out of the ship. He was upset- 
ting all hands. So I told him to go and get his dunnage to- 
gether because I was going to send him aboard the yacht. 
He couldn't have made more uproar about it if I had pro- 
posed to chuck him overboard. I warned him that if he didn't 
go quietly I would have him tied up like a sheep ready for 
slaughter. However, he went down the ladder on his own 
feet, shaking his fist at me and promising to have me hanged 
for a pirate some day. He can do no harm on board the 
yacht. And now, sir, it's for you to give orders and not for 
me — ^thank God!" 

Lingard turned away, abruptly. Carter didn't budge. 
After a moment he heard himself called from the other side 
of the deck and obeyed with alacrity. 

"What's that story of a man you picked up on the coast 
last evening?" asked Lingard in his gentlest tone. "Didn't 
you tell me something about it when I came on board?" 

"I tried to," said Carter, frankly. "But I soon gave it 
up. You didn't seem to pay any attention to what I was 
saying. I thought you wanted to be left alone for a bit. 
What can I know of your ways, yet, sir? Are you aware. 
Captain Lingard, that since this morning I have been down 
five times at the cabin door to look at you? There you 
sat. . . ." 

He paused and Lingard said: "You have been five times 
down in the cabin?" 


"Yes. And the sixth time I made up my mind to make you 
take some notice of me. I can't be left without ^orders. There 
are two ships to look after, a lot of things to be done. . . ." 

"There is nothing to be done," Lingard interrupted with a 
mere murmur but in a tone which made Carter keep silent 
for a while. 

"Even to know that much would have been something to 
go by," he ventured at last. "I couldn't let you sit there 
with the sun getting pretty low and a long night before us." 

"I feel stunned yet," said Lingard looking Carter straight 
in the face, as if to watch the effect of that confession. 

"Were you very near that explosion?" asked the young 
man with sympathetic curiosity and seeking for some sign on 
Lingard's person. But there was nothing. Not a single 
hair of the Captain's head seemed to have been singed. 

"Near," muttered Lingard. "It might have been in my 
head." He pressed it with both hands, then let them faU. 
"What about that man?" he asked, brusquely. "Where did 
he come from?. ... I suppose he is dead now," he 
added in an envious tone. 

"No, sir. He must have as many lives as a cat," an- 
swered Carter. " I will tell you how it was. As I said before 
I wasn't going to give you up, dead or alive, so yesterday 
when the sun went down a little in the afternoon I had two 
of our boats manned and pulled in shore, taking soundings to 
find a passage if there was one. I meant to go and look for 
you with the brig or without the brig — but that doesn't 
matter now. There were three or four floating logs in sight. 
One of the calashes in my boat made out something red on 
one of them. I thought it was worth while to go and see 
what it was. It was that man's sarong. It had got en- 
tangled among the branches and prevented him rolling off 
into the water. I was never so glad, I assure you, as when 
we found out that he was still breathing. If we could only 
nurse him back to life, I thought, he could perhaps tell me 
a lot of things. The log on which he hung had come out of 
the mouth of the creek and he couldn't have been more than 
half a day on it by my calculation. I had him taken down 


the main hatchway and put into a hammock in the 'tween- 
decks. He only just breathed then, but some time during 
the night he came to himself and got out of the hanmiock to 
He down on a mat. I suppose he was more comfortable that 
way. He recovered his speech only this morning and I went 
down at once and told you of it, but you took no notice. I 
told you also who he was but I don't know whether you 
heard me or not." 

"I don't remember," said Lingard imder his breath. 

" They are wonderful, those Malays. This morning he was 
only half alive, if that much, and now I understand he has 
been talking to Wasub for an hour. Will you go down to see 
him, sir, or shall I send a couple of men to carry him on deck? " 

Lingard looked bewildered for a moment. 

"Who on earth is he?" he asked. 

"Why, it's that fellow whom you sent out, that night I met 
you, to catch our first gig. What do they call him? Jaffir, 
I think. Hasn't he been with you ashore, sir? Didn't he 
find you with the letter I gave him for you? A most deter- 
mined looking chap. I knew him again the moment we got 
him off the log." 

Lingard seized hold of the royal backstay within reach of his 
hand. Jaffir! Jaffir! Faithful above all others; the messen- 
ger of supreme moments; the reckless and devoted servant! 
Lingard felt a crushing sense of despair. "No, I can't face 
this," he whispered to himself, looking at the coast black as 
ink now before his eyes in the world's shadow that was 
slowly encompassing the grey clearness of the shallow waters. 
"Send Wasub to me. I am going down into the cabin." 

He crossed over to the companion, then checking himself 
suddenly: "Was there a boat from the yacht during the 
day?" he asked as if struck by a sudden thought. — "No, 
sir," answered Carter. "We had no communication with 
the yacht to-day." — "Send Wasub to me," repeated Lingard 
in a stern voice as he went down the stairs. 

The old serang coming in noiselessly saw his Captain, as 
he had seen him many times before, sitting xmder the gilt 
thunderbolts, apparently as strong in his body, in his wealth. 


and in his knowledge of secret words that have a p>ower over 
men and elements, as ever. The old Malay squatted down 
within a couple of feet from LLngard, leaned his back against 
the satinwood panel of the bulkhead, then raising his old eyes 
with a watchful and benevolent expression to the white man's 
face, clasped his hands between his knees. 

"Wasub, you have learned now everything. Is there no 
one left ahve but Jaffir? Are they all dead?" 

"May you live! " answered Wasub; and Lingard whispered 
an appalled "All dead?" to which Wasub nodded slightly 
twice. His cracked voice had a lamenting intonation. "It 
is all true! It is all true! You are left alone, Tuan; you are 
left alone!" 

"It was their destiny," said Lingard at last, with forced 
calmness. "But has Jaffir told you of the manner of this 
calamity? How it is that he alone came out aUve from it to 
be found by you?" 

"He was told by his lord to depart and he obeyed," began 
Wasub, fixing his eyes on the deck and speaking just loud 
enough to be heard by Lingard, who, bending forward in 
his seat, shrank inwardly from every word and yet would 
not have missed a single one of them for anything. 

For the catastrophe had fallen on his head like a bolt from 
the blue in the early morning hours of the day before. At 
the first break of dawn he had been sent for to resume his 
talk with Belarab. He had felt suddenly Mrs. Travers re- 
move her hand from his head. Her voice speaking intimately 
into his ear : " Get up. There are some people coming," had 
recalled him to himself . Hehadgotupfromtheground. The 
light was dim, the air full of mist; and it was only gradually 
that he began to make out forms above his head and about 
his feet: trees, houses, men sleeping on the ground. He 
didn't recognize them. It was but a cruel change of dream. 
Who could tell what was real in this world? He looked about 
him, dazedly; he was still drunk with the deep draught of 
oblivion he had conquered for himself. Yes — but it was 
she who had let him snatch the cup. He looked down at 


the woman on the bench. She moved not. She had re- 
mained like that, still for hours, giving him a waking dream 
of rest without end, in an infinity of happiness without sound 
and movement, without thought, without joy; but with an 
infinite ease of content, like a world-embracing reverie breath- 
ing the air of sadness and scented with love. For hours she 
had not moved. 

"You are the most generous of women," he said. He 
bent over her. Her eyes were wide open. Her lips felt 
cold. It did not shock him. After he stood up he remained 
near her. Heat is a consuming thing, but she with her cold 
lips seemed to him indestructible — and, perhaps, immortal! 

Again he stooped, but this time it was only to kiss the fringe 
of her head scarf. Then he turned away to meet the three 
men, who, coming round the corner of the hut containing the 
prisoners, were approaching him with measured steps. They 
desired his presence in the Council room. Belarab was awake. 

They also expressed their satisfaction at finding the white 
man awake, because Belarab wanted to impart to him infor- 
mation of the greatest importance. It seemed to Lingard 
that he had been awake ever since he could remember. It was 
as to being aUve that he felt not so siure. He had no doubt of 
his existence; but was this life — this profound indifference, this 
strange contempt for what his eyes could see, this distaste for 
words, this unbelief in the importance of things and men? 
He tried to regain possession of himself, his old self which 
had things to do, words to speak as well as to hear. But it 
was too difficult. He was seduced away by the tense feeling 
of existence far superior to the mere consciousness of life, and 
which in its immensity of contradictions, delight, dread, 
exultation and despair could not be faced and yet was not to 
be evaded. There was no peace in it. But who wanted 
peace? Surrender was better, the dreadful ease of sla<;k limbs 
in the sweep of an enormous tide and in a divine emptiness 
of mind. If this was existence then he knew that he existed. 
And he knew that the woman existed, too, in the sweep of 
the tide, without speech, without movement, without heat. 
Indestructible — ^and perhaps immortal! 


WITH the sublime indifference of a man who had had a 
glimpse through the open doors of Paradise and is no 
longer careful of mere hfe, Lingard had followed Bela- 
rab's anxious messengers. The stockade was waking up in 
a subdued resonance of voices. Men were getting up from 
the ground, fires were being rekindled. Draped figures 
flitted in the mist amongst the buildings; and through the 
mat wall of a bamboo house Lingard heard the feeble wailing 
of a child. A day of mere life was beginning ; but in the Chief's 
great Council room several wax candles and a couple of cheap 
European lamps kept the dawn at bay, while the morning 
mist which could not be kept out made a faint reddish halo 
round every flame. 

Belarab was not only awake, but he even looked like a man 
who had not slept for a long time. The creator of the Shore 
of Refuge, the weary Ruler of the Settlement, with his scorn 
of the unrest and folly of men, was angry with his white friend 
who was always bringing his desires and his troubles to his 
very door. Belarab did not want any one to die but neither 
did he want any one in particular to live. What he was con- 
cerned about was to preserve the mystery and the power 
of his melancholy hesitations. These delicate things were 
menaced by Lingard's brusque movements, by that pas-! 
sionate white man who believed in more than one God and 
always seemed to doubt the power of destiny. Belarab was 
profoundly annoyed. He was also genuinely concerned, for 
he liked Lingard. He liked him not only for his strength, 
which protected his clear-minded scepticism from those dan- 
gers that beset all rulers, but he liked him also for himself. 
That man of infinite hesitations, born from a sort of mystic 
contempt for Allah's creation, yet believed absolutely both 



in Lingard's power and in his coldness. Absolutely. And 
yet, in the marvellous consistency of his temperament, now 
that the moment had come, he dreaded to put both power 
and fortitude to the test. 

Lingard could not know that some little time before the 
first break of dawn one of Belarab's spies in the Settlement 
had found his way inside the stockade at a spot remote from 
the lagoon, and that a very few moments after Lingard had 
left the Chief in consequence of Jorgenson's rockets, Belarab 
was listening to an amazing tale of Hassim and Immada's cap- 
ture and of Tengga's determination, very much strengthened 
by that fact, of obtaining possession of the Emma, either by 
force or by negotiation, or by some crafty subterfuge in 
which the Rajah and his sister could be made to play their 
part. In his mistrust of the universe, which seemed almost 
to extend to the will of God himself, Belarab was very much 
alarmed, for the material power of Daman's piratical crowd 
was at Tengga's command; and who could tell whether this 
Wajo Rajah would remain loyal in the circumstances? 
It was also very characteristic of him whom the original 
settlers of the Shore of Refuge called the Father of Safety, 
that he did not say anything of this to Lingard, for he was 
afraid of rousing Lingard's fierce energy which would even 
carry away himself and all his people and put the peace of so 
many years to the sudden hazard of a battle. 

Therefore Belarab set himself to persuade Lingard on gen- 
eral considerations to deliver the white men, who really be- 
longed to Daman, to that supreme Chief of the Dlanuns and 
by this simple proceeding detach him completely from 
Tengga. Why should he, Belarab, go to war against half the 
Settlement on their account? It was not necessary, it 
was not reasonable. It would be even in a manner a sin 
to begin a strife in a community of True Believers. Whereas 
with an offer like that in his hand he could send an embassy 
to Tengga who would see there at once the downfall of his 
purposes and the end of his hopes. At once ! That moment ! 
. . . Afterwards the question of a ransom could be ar- 
ranged with Daman in which he, Belarab, would mediate in 


the fuHness of hi,? recovered power, without a rival and in the 
sincerity of his heart. And then, if need be, he could put 
forth all his power against the chief of the sea-vagabonds 
who would, as a matter of fact, be negotiating under the 
shadow of the sword. 

Belarab talked, low-voiced and dignified, with now and 
then a subtle intonation, a persuasive inflexion or a half- 
melancholy smile in the course of the argument. What 
encouraged him most was the changed aspect of his white 
friend. The fierce power of his personaUty seemed to have 
turned into a dream. Lingard listened, growing gradually 
inscrutable in his continued silence, but remaining gentle 
in a sort of rapt patience as if lapped in the wings of the 
Angel of Peace himself. Emboldened by that transforma- 
tion, Belarab's counsellors seated on the mats murmured 
loudly their assent to the views of the Chief. Through the 
thickening white mist of tropical lands, the light of the tropi- 
cal day filtered into the hall. One of the wise men got up 
from the floor and with prudent fingers began extinguishing 
the waxUghts one by one. He hesitated to touch the lamps, 
the flames of which looked yellow and cold. A puff of the 
morning breeze entered the great room, faint and clull. 
Lingard, facing Belarab in a wooden armchair, with slack 
Umbs and in the divine emptiness of a mind enchanted by a 
glimpse of Paradise, shuddered profoundly. 

A strong voice shouted in the doorway without any cere- 
mony and with a sort of jeering accent: 

"Tengga's boats are out in the mist." 

Lingard half rose from his seat, Belarab himself could not 
repress a start. Lingard's attitude was a listening one, but 
after a moment of hesitation he ran out of the hall. The 
inside of the stockade was beginning to buzz like a disturbed 

Outside Belarab's house Lingard slowed his pace. The mist 
still hung. A great sustained murmur pervaded it and the 
blurred forms of men were all moving outward from the centre 
towards the palisades. Somewhere amongst the buildings a 
gong clanged. D'Alcacer's raised voice was heard: 


"What is happening?" 

Lingard was passing then close to the prisoners' house. 
There wasa groupof armed men belowthe verandahand above 
their heads he saw Mrs. Travers by the side of d'Alcacer. 
The fire by which Lingard had spent the night was extin- 
guished, its embers scattered, and the bench itself lay over- 
turned. Mrs. Travers must have run up on the verandah 
at the first alarm. She and d'Alcacer up there seemed to 
dominate the tumult which was now subsiding. Lingard 
noticed the scarf across Mrs. Travers' face. D'Alcacer was 
bare-headed. He shouted again: 

"What's the matter?" 

"I am going to see," shouted Lingard back. 

He resisted the impulse to join those two, dominate the 
tumult, let it roll away from under his feet — the mere life 
of men, vain like a dream and interfering with the tremen- 
dous sense of his own existence. He resisted it, he could 
hardly have told why. Even the sense of self-preservation 
had abandoned him. There was a throng of people pressing 
close about him yet careful not to get in his way. Surprise, 
concern, doubt were depicted on all those faces; but there 
were some who observed that the great white man making his 
way to the lagoon side of the stockade wore a fixed smile. 
He asked at large: 

"Can one see any distance over the water?" 

One of Belarab's headmen who was nearest to him an- 
swered : 

"The mist has thickened. If you see anything, Tuan, it 
will be but a shadow of things." 

The four sides of the stockade had been manned by that 
time. Lingard, ascending the banquette, looked out and saw 
the lagoon shrouded in white, without as much as a shadow 
on it, and so still that not even the sound of water lapping 
the shore reached his ears. He found himself in profound 
accord with this blind and soundless peace. 

"Has anything at all been seen?" he asked, incredulously. 

Four men were produced at once who had seen a dark mass 
of boats moving in the light of the dawn. Others were 


sent for. He hardly listened to them. His thought escaped 
him and he stood motionless, looking out into the unstir- 
ring mist pervaded by the perfect silence. Presently Bela- 
rab joined him, escorted by three grave, swarthy men, himself 
dark-faced, stroking his short grey beard with impenetrable 
composure. He said to Lingard: "Your white man doesn't 
fight," to which Lingard had answered, "There is nothing 
to fight against. What your people have seen, Belarab, were 
indeed but shadows on the water." Belarab murmured: 
"You ought to have allowed me to make friends with Daman 
last night." 

A faint uneasiness was stealing into Lingard's breast. 

A moment later d'Alcacer came up, inconspicuously watched 
over by two men with lances, and to his anxious inquiry 
Lingard said: "I don't think there is anything going on. 
Listen how still everything is. The only way of bringing 
the matter to a test would be to persuade Belarab to let his 
men march out and make an attack on Tengga's stronghold 
this moment. Then we would learn something. But I 
couldn't persuade Belarab to march out into this fog. In- 
deed, an expedition like this might end badly. I myself 
don'tbelievethatall Tengga's people are on the lagoon. . . . 
Where is Mrs. Travers?" 

The question made d'Alcacer start by its abruptness 
which revealed the woman's possession of that man's mind. 
"She is with Don Martin, who is better but feels very weak. 
If we are to be given up, he will have to be carried out 
to his fate. I can depict to myself the scene. Don Martin 
carried shoulder high surrounded by those barbarians with 
spears, and Mrs. Travers with myself walking on each side 
of the stretcher. Mrs. Travers has declared to me her in- 
tention to go out with us." 

"Oh, she has declared her intention," murmured Lingard, 

D'Alcacer felt himself completely abandoned by that man. 
And within two paces of him he noticed the group of Belarab 
and his three swarthy attendants in their white robes, pre- 
serving an air of serene detachment. For the first time 


since the stranding on the coast d'Alcacer's heart sank within 
him. "But perhaps," he went on, "this Moor may not in 
the end insist on giving us up to a cruel death. Captain 

"He wanted to give you up in the middle of the night, 
a few hours ago," said Lingard, without even looking at 
d'Alcacer who raised his hands a little and let them fall. 
Lingard sat down on the breech of a heavy piece mounted 
on a naval carriage so as to command the lagoon. He 
folded his arms on his breast. D'Alcacer asked, gently: 

"We have been reprieved then.''" 

"No," said Lingard. "It's I who am reprieved." 

A long silence ensued. Along the whole line of the man- 
ned stockade the whisperings had ceased. The vibrations of 
the gong had died out, too. Only the watchers perched in the 
highest boughs of the big tree made a sUght rustle amongst 
the leaves. 

"What are you thinking of, Captain Lingard?" d'Alcacer 
asked in a low voice. Lingard did not change his position. 

"I am trying to keep it ofiF," he said in the same tone. 

"What? Trying to keep thought off." 


"Is this the time for such experiments?" asked d'Alcacer. 

"Why not? It's my reprieve. Don't grudge it to me, 
Mr. d'Alcacer." 

"Upon my word I don't. But isn't it dangerous?" 

"You will have to take your chance." 

D'Alcacer had a moment of internal struggle. He asked 
himself whether he should tell Lingard that Mrs. Travers 
had come to the stockade with some sort of message from 
Jorgenson. He had it on the tip of his tongue to advise Lin- 
gard to go and see Mrs. Travers and ask her point blank 
whether she had anything for him; but before he could make 
up his mind the voices of invisible men high up in the tree 
were heard reporting the thinning of the fog. This caused 
a stir to run along the four sides of the stockade. 

Lingard felt the draught of air in his face, the motionless 
mist began to drive over the paUsades and, suddenly. 


the lagoon came into view with a great blinding glitter of its 
wrinkled surface and the faint sound of its wash rising all 
along the shore. A multitude of hands went up to shade the 
eager eyes, and exclamations of wonder bxu*st out from many 
men at the sight of a crowd of canoes of various sizes and 
kinds lying close together with the effect as of an enormous 
raft, a little way off the side of the Emma. The ex- 
cited voices rose higher and higher. There was no doubt 
about Tengga being on the lagoon. But what was Jor- 
genson about? The Emma lay as if abandoned by her keeper 
and her crew, while the mob of mixed boats seemed to be 
meditating an attack. 

For all his determination to keep thought off to the very 
last possible moment, Lingard could not defend himself from 
a sense of wonder and fear. What was Jorgenson about? 
For a moment Lingard expected the side of the Emma to 
wreath itself in puffs of smoke, but an age seemed to elapse 
without the sound of a shot reaching his ears. 

The boats were afraid to close. They were hanging off.irreso- 
lute; but why did Jorgenson not put an end to their hesi- 
tation by a volley or two of musketry if only over their heads? 
Through the anguish of his perplexity Lingard found himself 
returning to life, to mere life with its sense of pain and mor- 
tality, like a man awakened from a dream by a stab in the 
breast. What did this silence of the Emma mean? Could 
she have been already carried in the fog? But that was un- 
thinkable. Some sounds of resistance must have been heard. 
No, the boats hung off because they knew with what desperate 
defence they would meet; and perhaps Jorgenson knew very 
well what he was doing by holding his fire to the very last 
moment and letting the craven hearts grow cold with the fear 
of a murderous discharge that would have to be faced. What 
was certain was that this was the time for Belarab to open 
the great gate and let his men go out, display his power, 
sweep through the further end of the Settlement, destroy 
Tengga's defences, do away once for all with the absurd 
rivalry of that intriguing amateur boat-builder. Lingard 
turned eagerly towards Belarab but saw the Chief busy look- 


ing across the lagoon through a long glass resting on the 
shoulder of a stooping slave. He was motionless like a carv- 
ing. Suddenly he let go the long glass which some ready 
hands caught as it fell and said to Lingard : 

"No fight." 

"How do you know?" muttered Lingard, astounded. 

"There are three empty sampans alongside the ladder," 
said Belarab in a just-audible voice. "There is bad talk 

"Talk? I don't understand," said Lingard, slowly. 

But Belarab had turned towards his three attendants in 
white robes, with shaven poUs under skullcaps of plaited 
grass, with prayer beads hanging from their wrists, and an 
air of superior calm on their dark faces: companions of his 
desperate days, men of blood once and now imperturbable 
in their piety and wisdom of trusted counsellors. 

"This white man is being betrayed," he murmiu-ed to them 
with the greatest composure. 

D'Alcacer, uncomprehending, watched the scene: the Man 
of Fate puzzled and fierce like a disturbed hon, the white- 
robed Moors, the multitude of half -naked barbarians, squat- 
ting by the guns, standing by the loopholes in the immobility 
of an arranged display. He saw Mrs. Travers on the 
verandah of the prisoners' house, an anxious figure with a 
white scarf over her head. Mr. Travers was no doubt too 
weak after his fit of fever to come outside. If it hadn't been 
for that, all the whites would have been in sight of each other 
at the very moment of the catastrophe which was to give 
them back to the claims of their life, at the cost of other Uves 
sent violently out of the world. D'Alcacer heard Lingard 
asking loudly for the long glass and saw Belarab make a sign 
with his hand, when he felt the earth receive a violent blow 
from underneath. While he staggered to it the heavens 
spht over his head with a crash in the lick of a red tongue 
of flame and a sudden dreadful gloom fell all round the 
stunned d'Alcacer who beheld with terror the morning sun 
robbed of its rays glow dull and brown through the sombre 
murk which had taken possession of the universe. The 


Emma had blown up; and when tfie'rain of shattered timbers 
and mangled corpses falHng into the lagoon had ceased, the 
cloud of smoke hanging motionless under the livid sun cast 
its shadow afar on the Shore of Refuge where all strife had 
come to an end. 

A great wail of terror ascended from the Settlement and 
was succeeded by a profound silence. People could be seen 
bolting in unreasoning panic away from the houses and into 
the fields. On the lagoon the raft of boats had broken up. 
Some of them were sinking, others paddling away in all direc- 
tions. What was left above water of the Emma had burst 
into a clear flame under the shadow of the cloud, the great 
smoky cloud that hung solid and unstirring above the tops 
of the forest, visible for miles up and down the coast and, 
over the shallows. 

The first person to recover inside the stockade was Belarab 
himself. Mechanically he murmured the exclamation of 
wonder, "God is great," and looked at Lingard. But Lin- 
gard was not looking at him. The shock of the explosion 
had robbed him of speech and movement. He stared at the 
Emma blazing in a distant and insignificant flame under the 
sinister shadow of the cloud created by Jorgenson's mistrust 
and contempt for the life of men. Belarab turned away. 
His opinion had changed. He regarded Lingard no longer 
as a betrayed man but the effect was the same. He was 
no longer a man of any importance. What Belarab really 
wanted now was to see all the white people clear out of the 
lagoon as soon as possible. Presently he ordered the gate 
to be thrown open and his armed men poured out to take 
possession of the Settlement. Later Tengga's houses were set 
on fire and Belarab, mounting a fiery pony, issued forth to 
make a triumphal progress surrounded by a great crowd of 
headmen and guards. 

That night the white people left the stockade in a cortege 
of torch-bearers. Mr. Travers had to be carried down to 
the beach, where two of Belarab's war-boats awaited their 
distinguished passengers. Mrs. Travers passed through the 
gate on d'Alcacer's arm. Her face was half veiled. She moved 


through the throng of spectators displayed in the torchlight 
looking straight before her. Belarab, standing in front of a 
group of headmen, pretended not to see the white people as 
they went by. With Lingard he shook hands, murmuring 
the usual formulas of friendship; and when he heard the 
great white man say, "You shall never see me again," he felt 
immensely relieved. Belarab did not want to see that white 
man again, but as he responded to the pressure of Lingard's 
hand he had a grave smile. 

"God alone knows the future," he said. 

Lingard walked to the beach by himself, feeling a stranger 
to all men and abandoned by the all-knowing God. By 
that time the first boat with Mr. and Mrs. Travers had al- 
ready got away out of the blood-red light thrown by the 
torches upon the water. D'Alcacer and Lingard followed 
in the second. Presently the dark shade of the creek, walled 
in by the impenetrable forest, closed round them and the 
splash of the paddles echoed in the still, damp air. 

"How do you think this awful accident happened?" asked 
d'Alcacer, who had been sitting silent by Lingard's side. 

"What is an accident?" said Lingard with a great effort. 
"Where did you hear of such a thing? Accident! Don't 
disturb me, Mr; d'Alcacer. I have just come back to life 
and it has closed on me colder and darker than the grave 
itself. Let me get used ... I can't bear the sound of 
a human voice yet." 


AND now, stoical in the cold and darkness of his regained 
life, Lingard had to listen to the voice of Wasub 
^ telling him Jaffir's story. The old serang's face 
expressed a profound dejection and there was infinite sadness 
in the flowing miu-mur of his words. 

"Yes, by Allah! They were all there: that tyrannical 
Tengga, noisy like a fool; the Rajah Hassim, a ruler without 
a country; Daman, the wandering chief, and the three Pan- 
gerans of the sea-robbers. They came on board boldly, for 
Tuan Jorgenson had given them permission, and their talk 
was that you, Tuan, were a willing captive in Belarab's stock- 
ade. They said they had waited all night for a message of 
peace from you or from Belarab. But there was nothing, 
and with the first sign of day they put out on the lagoon to 
make friends with Tuan Jorgenson for, they said, you, Tuan, 
were as if you had not been, possessing no more power than a 
dead man, the mere slave of these strange white people, and 
Belarab's prisoner. Thus Tengga talked. God had taken 
from him all wisdom and all fear. And then he must have 
thought he was safe while Rajah Hassim and the lady Im- 
mada were on board. I tell you they sat there in the 
midst of your enemies, captive! The lady Immada, with 
her head covered, mourned to herself. The Rajah Hassim 
made a sign to Jaffir and Jaffir came to stand by his side and 
talked to his lord. The main hatch was open and many 
of the Illanuns crowded there to look down at the goods that 
were inside the ship. They had never seen so much loot 
in their lives. Jaffir and his lord could hear plainly Tuan Jor- 
genson and Tengga talking together. Tengga discoursed 
loudly like a fool, and his words were the words of a doomed 



man, for he was asking Tuan JSrgenson to give up the arms 
and everything that was on board the ^mma to himself and 
to Daman. And then, he said, "We shall fight Belarab and 
make friends with these strange white people by behaving 
generously to them and letting them sail away unharmed 
to their own country. We don't want them here. You, 
Tuan Jorgenson, are the only white man I care for." They 
heard Tuan Jorgenson say to Tengga: "Now you have told 
me everything there is in your mind you had better go 
ashore with your friends and return to-morrow." And 
Tengga asked: "Why! would you fight me to-morrow rather 
than live many days in peace with me?" and he laughed and 
slapped his thigh. And Tuan Jorgenson answered: 

"No, I won't fight you. But even a spider will give the 
fly time to say its prayers." 

"Tuan Jorgenson's voice sounded very strange and louder 
than ever anybody had heard it before. O Rajah Laut, Jaf- 
fir and the white man had been waiting, too, all night for 
some sign from you; a shot fired or a signal-fire lighted to 
strengthen their hearts. There had been nothing. Rajah 
Hassim, whispering, ordered Jaffir to take the first opportu- 
nity to leap overboard and take to you his message of friend- 
ship and good-bye. Did the Rajah and Jaffir know what was 
coming? Who can tell? But what else could they see than 
calamity for all Wajo men, whatever Tuan Jorgenson had 
made up his mind to do. Jaffir prepared to obey his lord, 
and yet with so many enemies' boats in the water he did 
not think he would ever reach the shore; and as to yourself 
he was not at all sure that you were still alive. But he said 
nothing of this to his Rajah. Nobody was looking their way. 
Jaffir pressed his lord's hand to his breast and waited his 
opportunity. The fog began to blow away and presently 
everything was disclosed to the sight. Tuan Jorgenson was 
on his feet, he was holding a lighted cigar between his fin- 
gers. Tengga was sitting in front of him on one of the chairs 
the white people had used. His followers were pressing 
round him, with Daman and Sentot who was muttering in- 
cantations, and even the Pangerans had moved closer to the 


hatchway. Jaffir's opportunity had come but he lingered 
by the side of his Rajah. In the clear air the sun shone with 
great force. Tuan Jorgenson looked once more towards 
Belarab's stockade, O ! Rajah Laut! But there was nothing 
there, not even a flag displayed that had not been, there 
before. Jaflir looked that way, too, and as he turned his head 
he saw Tuan Jorgenson, in the midst of twenty spear-blades 
that could in an instant have been driven into his breast, 
put the cigar in his mouth and jump down the hatchway. 
At that moment Rajah Hassim gave Jaffir a push towards 
the side and Jaffir leaped overboard. 

"He was still in the water when all the world was dark- 
ened round him as if the Ufe of the sun had been blown out of 
it in a crash. A great wave came along and washed him on 
shore, while pieces of wood, iron, and the limbs of torn men 
were splashing round him in the water. He managed to crawl 
out of the mud. Something had hit him while he was 
swimming and he thought he would die. But life stirred in 
him. He had a message for you. For a long time he went 
on crawling imder the big trees on his hands and knees, for 
there is no rest for a messenger till the message is delivered. 
At last he found himself on the left bank of the creek. And 
still he felt life stir in him. So he started to swim across, for 
if you were in this world you were on the other side. While 
he swam he felt his strength abandoning him. He managed 
to scramble on to a drifting log and lay on it like one who 
is dead, till we pulled him into one of our boats." 

Wasub ceased. It seemed to Lingard that it was impos- 
sible for mortal man to sufiFer more than he suffered in the 
succeeding moment of silence crowded by the mute images as 
of universal destruction. He felt himself gone to pieces as 
though the violent expression of Jorgenson's intolerable mis- 
trust of the life of men had shattered his soul, leaving his 
body robbed of all power of resistance and of all fortitude, a 
prey forever to infinite remorse and endless regrets. 

"Leave me, Wasub," he said. "They are all dead— but I 
would sleep." 

Wasub raised his dumb old eyes to the white man's face. 


"Tuan, it is necessary that you should hear Jaffir," he said, 

"Is he going to die?" asked Lingard in a low, cautious tone 
as though he were afraid of the sound of his own voice. 

"Who can tell?" Wasub's voice sounded more patient 
than ever. "There is no wound on his body but, O! Tuan, 
he does not wish to live." 

"Abandoned by his God," muttered Lingard to himself. 

Wasub waited a little before he went on. "And, Tuan, 
he has a message for you." 

"Of course. Well, I don't want to hear it." 

"It is from those who will never speak to you again," 
Wasub persevered, sadly. "It is a great trust. A Rajah's 
own words. It is difficult for JaflBr to die. He keeps on 
muttering strange words about a ring that was for you, and 
that he let pass out of his care. It was a great talisman!" 

"Yes. But it did not work this time. And if I go and 
tell Jaffir why he will be able to tell his Rajah, O! Wasub, 
since you say that he is going to die. ... I wonder 
where they will meet," he muttered to himself. 

Once more Wasub raised his eyes to Lingard's face. 

"Paradise is the lot of all True BeUevers," he whispered, 
firm in his simple faith. 

The man who had been undone by a glimpse of Paradise 
exchanged a profound look with the old Malay. Then he 
got up. On his passage to the main hatchway the comman- 
der of the brig met no one on the decks, as if all mankind 
had given him up except the old man who preceded him 
and that other man dying in the deepening twihght, who 
was awaiting his coming. Below, in the fight of the hatch- 
way, he saw a young calash with a broad yellow face and his 
wiry hair sticking up in stiff wisps through the folds of his 
head-kerchief, holding an earthenware water- jar to the fips of 
Jaffir extended on his back on a pile of mats. 

A languid roll of the aheady glazed eyeballs, a mere stir 
of black and white in the gathering dusk showed that the 
faithful messenger of princes was aware of the presence of 
the man who had been so long known to him and his people 


as the King of the Sea. Lingard knelt down close to Jaffir's 
head, which roUed a little from side to side and then became 
stiU, staring at a beam of the upper deck. Lingard bent his 
ear to the dark lips. "Deliver your message.''" he said in a 
gentle tone. 

"The Rajah wished to hold your hand once more," whis- 
pered JaflSr so faintly that Lingard had to guess the words 
rather than hear them. "I was to teU you," he went on — 
and stopped suddenly. 

"What were you to tell me? " 

"To forget everything," said Jaflfir with a loud effort as if 
beginning a long speech; after that he said nothing more till 
Lingard murmured: "And the lady Immada?" 

JafEr collected all his strength. "She hoped no more," 
he uttered, distinctly. "The order came to her while she 
mourned, veiled, apart. I didn't even see her face." 

Lingard swayed over the dying man so heavily that 
Wasub, standing near by, hastened to catch him by the 
shoulder. JafEr seemed unaware of anything, and went on 
staring at the beam. 

"Can you hear me, O! JafiBr?" asked Lingard. 

"I hear." 

" I never had the ring. Who could bring it to me? " 

"We gave it to the white woman — may Jehannum be her 

"No! It shall be my lot," said Lingard with despairing 
force, while Wasub raised both his hands in dismay. "For, 
listen, JafEr, if she had given the ring to me it would have 
been to one that was dumb, deaf and robbed of all courage." 

It was impossible to say whether JafEr had heard. He 
made no sound, there was no change in his awful stare, but his 
prone body moved under the cotton sheet as if to get further 
away from the white man. Lingard got up slowly and 
making a sign to Wasub to remain where he was, went up 
on deck without giving another glance to the dying man. 
Again it seemed to him that he was pacing the quarter-deck 
of a deserted ship. The mulatto steward, watching through 
the crack of the pantry door, saw the Captain stagger into the 


cuddy and fling to the door behind him with a crash. For 
more than an hour nobody approached that closed door till 
Carter coming down the companion stairs spoke without 
attempting to open it: 

"Are you there, sir?" The answer, "You may come in," 
comforted the young man by its strong resonance. He went 


"Jaffir is dead. This moment. I thought you would 
want to know." 

Lingard looked persistently at Carter, thinking that now 
Jaffir was dead there was no one left on the empty earth to 
speak to him a word of reproach; no one to know the great- 
ness of his intentions, the bond of fidelity between him and 
Hassim and Immada, the depth of his affection for those peo- 
ple, the earnestness of his visions, and the unboimded trust 
that was his reward. By the mad scorn of Jorgenson flaming 
up against the life of men, aU this was as if it had never 
been. It had become a secret locked up in his own breast 

"Tell Wasub to open one of the long-cloth bales in the hold, 
Mr. Carter, and give the crew a cotton sheet to bury him 
decently according to their faith. Let it be done to-night. 
They must have the boats, too. I suppose they will want to 
take him on the sandbank." 

"Yes, sir," said Carter. 

"Let them have what they want, spades, torches. . . . 
Wasub will chant the right words. Paradise is the lot of all 
True Believers. Do you understand me, Mr. Carter.'' Para- 
dise! I wonder what it will be for him! Unless he gets 
messages to carry through the jungle, avoiding ambushes, 
swimming in storms and knowing no rest, he won't like it." 

Carter listened with an unmoved face. It seemed to him 
that the Captain had forgotten his presence. 

"And all the time he will be sleeping on that sandbank," 
Lingard began again, sitting in his old place under the gilt 
thunderbolts suspended over his head with his elbows on 
the table and his hands to his temples. "H they want a 


board to set up at the grave let them have a piece of an oak 
plank. It will stay there — till the next monsoon. Perhaps." 

Carter felt uncomfortable before that tense stare which 
just missed him and in that confined cabin seemed awful in its 
piercing and far-off expression. But as he had not been dis- 
missed he did not like to go away. 

"Everything will be done as you wish it, sir," he said. 
" I suppose the yacht will be leaving the first thing to-morrow 
morning, sir." 

"If she doesn't we must give her a solid shot or two to 
liven her up — eh, Mr. Carter.''" 

Carter did not know whether to smile or to look horrified. 
In the end he did both but as to saying anything he found 
it impossible. But Lingard did not expect an answer. 

"I believe you are going to stay with me, Mr. Carter." 

"I told you, sir, I am your man if you want me." 

"The trouble is, Mr. Carter, that I am no longer the man 
to whom you spoke that night in Carimata." 

"Neither am I, sir, in a manner of speaking." 

Lingard, relaxing the tenseness of his stare, looked at the 
young man, thoughtfully. 

"After all, it is the brig that will want you. She will never 
change. The finest craft afloat in these seas. She will carry 
me about as she did before, but. . . " 

He unclasped his hands, made a sweeping gesture. 

Carter gave all his naive sympathy to that man who had 
certainly rescued the 'white p>eople but seemed to have lost 
his own soul in the attempt. Carter had heard something 
from Wasub. He had made out enough of the story from 
the old serang's pidgin English to know that the Captain's 
native friends, one of them a woman, had p)erished in a 
mysterious catastrophe. But the why of it, and how it came 
about, remained still quite incomprehensible to him. Of 
course, a man like the Captain would feel terribly cut 
up. . . . 

"You will be soon yourself again, sir," he said in the kind- 
est f»ossible tone. 

With the same simplicity Lingard shook his head. He was 


thinking of the dead JaflBr with his last message delivered 
and untroubled now by all these matters of the earth. He 
had been ordered to tell him to forget everything. Lingard 
had an inward shudder. In the dismay of his heart he might 
have believed his brig to lie under the very wing of the 
Angel of Desolation — so oppressive, so final and hopeless 
seemed the silence in which he and Carter looked at each 
other, wistfully. 

Lingard reached for a sheet of paper amongst several lying 
on the table, took up a pen, hesitated a moment and then 

"Meet me at day-break on the sandbank." 

He addressed the envelope to Mrs. Travers, Yacht Hermit, 
and pushed it across the table. 

"Send this on board the schooner at once, Mr. Carter. 
Wait a moment. When our boats shove oft for the sand- 
bank have the forecastle gun fired. I want to know when that 
dead man has left the ship." 

He sat alone, leaning his head on his hand, listening, listen- 
ing endlessly, for the report of the gun. Would it never 
come. When it came at last muffled, distant, with a slight 
shock through the body of the brig he remained still with his 
head leaning on his hand but with a distinct conviction, with 
an almost physical certitude, that under the cotton sheet 
shrouding the dead man something of himself, too, had left 
the ship. 


IN A roomy cabin, furnished and fitted with austere com' 
fort, Mr. Travers reposed at ease in a low bed-place under 
a snowy white sheet and a Ught silk coverlet, his head 
sunk in a white pillow of extreme purity. A faint scent of 
lavender hung about the fresh linen. Though lying on his 
back like a person who is seriously ill Mr. Travers was con- 
scious of nothing worse than a great fatigue. Mr. Travers' 
restfulness had something faintly triumphant in it. To find 
himself again on board his yacht had soothed his vanity and 
had revived his sense of his own importance. He contem- 
plated it in a distant perspective, restored to its proper 
surroundings and unaffected by an adventure too extraor- 
dinary to trouble a superior mind or even to remain in 
one's memory for any length of time. He was not responsi- 
ble. Like many men ambitious of directing the affairs of a 
nation, Mr. Travers disliked the sense of responsibility. He 
would not have been above evading it in case of need, but 
with perverse loftiness he really, in his heart, scorned it. That 
was the reason why he was able to lie at rest and enjoy a 
sense of returning vigour. But he did not care much to talk 
as yet, and that was why the silence in the stateroom had 
lasted for hours. The bulkhead lamp had a green silk shade. 
It was unBecessary to admit for a moment the existence of 
impudence or rufSanism. A discreet knocking at the cabin 
door sounded deferential. 

Mrs. Travers got up to see what was wanted, and returned 
without uttering a single word to the folding armchair by the 
side of the bed-place, with an envelope in her hand which she 
tore open in the greenish light. Mr. Travers remained in- 
curious but his wife handed to him an unfolded sheet of paper 
which he condescended to hold up to his eyes. It contained 



only one line of writing. He let the paper fall on the cover- 
let and went on reposing as before. It was a sick man's re- 
pose. Mrs. Travers in the armchair, with her hands on the 
arm-rests, had a great dignity of attitude. 

"I intend to go," she declared after a time. 

"You intend to go," repeated Mr. Travers in a feeble, 
deliberate voice. " Really, it doesn't matter what you decide 
to do. All this is of so little importance. It seems to me 
that there can be no possible object." 

"Perhaps not," she admitted. "But don't you think the 
uttermost farthing should always be paid?" 

Mr. Travers' head rolled over on the pillow and gave a 
covertly scared look at that outspoken woman. But it rolled 
back again at once and the whole man remained passive, the 
very embodiment of helpless exhaustion. Mrs. Travers no- 
ticed this, and had the unexpected impression that Mr. Trav- 
ers was not so ill as he looked. "He's making the most of it. 
It's a matter of diplomacy," she thought. She thought this 
without irony, bitterness, or disgust. Only her heart sank 
a little lower and she felt that she could not remain in the 
cabin with that man for the rest of the evening. For all life 
— ^yes ! But not for that evening. 

"It's simply monstrous," murmured the man, who was 
either very diplomatic or very exhausted, in a languid man- 
ner. "There is something abnormal in you." 

Mrs. Travers got up swiftly. 

" One comes across monstrous things. But I assure you that 
of all the monsters that wait on what you would call a normal 
existence the one I dread most is tediousness. A merciless 
monster without teeth or claws. Impotent. Horrible !" 

She left the stateroom, vanishing out of it with noiseless 
resolution. No power on earth could have kept her in 
there for another minute. On deck she found a moonless 
night with a velvety tepid feeling in the air, and in the sky a 
mass of blurred starlight, hke the tarnished tinsel of a worn- 
out, very old, very tedious firmament. The usual routine of 
the yacht had been already resumed, the awnings had been 
stretched aft, a solitary round lamp had been hung as usual 


under the main boom. Out of the deep gloom behind it 
d'Alcacer, a long, loose figure, lounged in the dim light across 
the deck. D'Alcacer had got promptly in touch with 
the store of cigarettes he owed to the Governor General's 
generosity. A large, pulsating spark glowed, illuminating 
redly the design of his lips under the fine dark moustache, 
the tip of his nose, his lean chin. D'Alcacer reproached 
himself for an unwonted light-heartedness which had some- 
how taken possession of him. He had not experienced that 
sort of feeling for years. Reprehensible as it was he did not 
want anything to disturb it. But as he could not run away 
openly from Mrs. Travers he advanced to meet her. 

"I do hope you have nothing to tell me," he said with 
whimsical earnestness. 

"I? No! Have you?" 

He assured her he had not, and proffered a request. 
"Don't let us tell each other anything, Mrs. Travers. Don't 
let us think of anything. I believe it will be the best way 
to get over the evening." There was real anxiety in his 
jesting tone. 

"Very well," Mrs. Travers assented, seriously. "But in 
that case we had better not remain together." She asked 
d'Alcacer to go below and sit with Mr. Travers who didn't 
like to be left alone. "Though he, too, doesn't seem to 
want to be told anything," she added, parenthetically, and 
went on: "But I must ask you something else, Mr. d'Al- 
cacer. I propose to sit down in this chair and go to sleep 
— if I can! Will you promise to caU me about five o'clock? 
I prefer not to speak to any one on deck, and, moreover, I 
can trust you." 

He bowed in silence very much surprised, and went away 
slowly. Mrs. Travers, turning her head, perceived a steady 
light at the brig's yard-arm, very bright among the tarnished 
stars. She walked aft and looked over the taffrail. It was 
exactly like that other night. She half-expected to hear 
presently the low, rippling sound of an advancing boat. But 
the universe remained without a sound. When she at last 
dropped into the deck chair she was absolutely at the end of 


her power of thinking. " I suppose that's how the condemned 
manage to get some sleep on the night before the execution," 
she said to herself a moment before her eyelids closed as 
if under a leaden hand. 

She woke up, with her face wet with tears, out of a vivid 
dream of Lingard in chain-mail armour and vaguely recall- 
ing a Crusader, but bare-headed and walking away from 
her in the depths of an impossible landscape. She hurried 
on to catch up with him but a throng of barbarians with 
enormous turbans came between them at the last moment 
and she lost sight of him forever in the flurry of a ghastly 
sand-storm. What upset her most was that she had not 
been able to see his face. It was then that she began to cry 
over her hard fate. When she woke up the tears were still 
rolling down her cheeks and she perceived in the light of the 
deck-lamp d'Alcacer arrested a little way off. 

"Did you have to speak to me?" she asked. 

"No," said d'Alcacer. "You didn't give me time. When 
I came as far as this I fancied I heard you sobbing. It must 
have been a delusion." 

"Oh, no. My face is wet yet. It was a dream. I 
suppose it is five o'clock. Thank you for being so punctual. 
I have something to do before sunrise." 

D'Alcacer moved nearer! "I know. You have decided 
to keep an appointment on the sandbank. Your husband 
didn't utter twenty words in all these hoiu-s but he managed 
to tell me that piece of news." 

"I shouldn't have thought," she murmured, vaguely. 

"He wanted me to understand that it had no importance," 
stated d'Alcacer in a very serious tone. 

"Yes. He knows what he is talking about," said Mrs. 
Travers in such a bitter tone as to disconcert d'Alcacer for 
a moment. "I don't see a single soul about the decks," 
Mrs. Travers continued, almost directly. 

"The very watchmen are asleep," said d'Alcacer. 

"There is nothing secret in this expedition, but I prefer 
not to call any one. Perhaps you wouldn't mind pulling me 
off yourself in our small boat." 


It seemed to her that d'Alcacer showed some hesitation. 
She added: "It has no importance, you know." 

He bowed his assent and preceded her down the side in 
silence. When she entered the boat he had the sculls ready 
and directly she sat down he shoved off. It was so dark yet 
that but for the brig's yard-arm light he could not have kept 
his direction. He pulled a very deliberate stroke, looking 
over his shoulder frequently. It was Mrs. Travers who saw 
first the faint gleam of the xmcovered sandspit on the black, 
quiet water. 

"A little more to the left," she said. "No, the other 
way. . . ." D'Alcacer obeyed her directions but his 
stroke grew even slower than before. She spoke again. 
"Don't you think that the uttermost farthing should always 
be paid, Mr. d'Alcacer?" 

D'Alcacer glanced over his shoulder, then: "It would be 
the only honourable way. But it may be hard. Too hard 
for our common fearful hearts." 

"I am prepared for anything." 

He ceased pulhng for a moment. . . "Anything that 
may be found on a sandbank," Mrs. Travers went on. 
"On an arid, insignificant, deserted sandbank." 

D'Alcacer gave two strokes and ceased again. 

"There is room for a whole world of suffering on a sand- 
bank, for all the bitterness and resentment a human soul 
may be made to feel." 

"Yes, I suppose you would know," she whisi>ered while he 
gave a stroke or two and again glanced over his shoulder. 
She murmured the words: 

"Bitterness, Resentment," and a moment afterwards 
became aware of the keel of the boat running up on the sand. 
But she didn't move, and d'Alcacer, too, remained seated on 
the thwart with the blades of his sculls raised as if ready to 
drop them and back the dinghy out into deep water at the 
first sign. 

Mrs. Travers made no sign, but she asked, abruptly; 
"Mr. d'Alcacer, do you think I wOl ever come back?" 

Her tone seemed to him to lack sincerity. But who 


could tell what this abruptness covered — sincere fear or mere 
vanity? He asked himself whether she was playing a part 
for his benefit, or only for herself. 

"I don't think you quite understand the situation, Mrs. 
Travers. I don't think you have a clear idea either of 'his 
simplicity or of his visionary's pride." 

She thought, contemptuously, that there were other things 
which d'Alcacer didn't know and surrendered to a sudden 
temptation to enlighten him a little. 

"You forget his capacity for passion and that his simplicity 
doesn't know its own strength." 

There was no mistaking the sincerity of that murmur. 
"She has felt it," d'Alcacer said to himself with absolute cer- 
titude. He wondered when, where, how, on what occasion? 
Mrs. Travers stood up in the stern sheets suddenly and 
d'Alcacer leaped on the sand to help her out of the boat. 

" Hadn't I better hang about here to take you back again? " 
he suggested, as he let go her hand. 

"You mustn't!" she exclaimed, anxiously. "You must 
return to the yacht. There will be plenty of light in another 
hour. I will come to this spot and wave my handkerchief 
when I want to be taken off." 

At their feet the shallow water slept profoundly, the 
ghostly gleam of the sands bafHed the eye by its lack of form. 
Par off, the growth of bushes in the centre raised a massive 
black bulk against the stars to the southward. Mrs. Travers 
lingered for a moment near the boat as if afraid of the 
strange solitude of this lonely sandbank and of this lone sea 
that seemed to fill the whole encircling tmiverse of remote 
stars and limitless shadows. "There is nobody here," she 
whispered to herself. 

"He is somewhere about waiting for you, or I don't know 
the man," affirmed d'Alcacer in an undertone. He gave a 
vigorous shove wliich sent the little boat into the water. 

D'Alcacer was perfectly right. Lingard had come up on 
deck long before Mrs. Travers had woke up with her face wet 
with tears. The burial party had returned hours before and 


the crew of the brig was plunged in sleep, except for two 
watchmen, who at Lingard's appearance retreated noiselessly 
from the poop. Lingard, leaning on the rail, fell into a som- 
bre reverie of his past. Reproachful spectres crowded the 
air, animated and vocal, not in the articulate language of 
mortals but assailing him with faint sobs, deep sighs and 
fateful gestures. When he came to himself and turned 
about they vanished, all but one dark shape without sound 
or movement. Lingard looked at it with secret horror. 

"Who's that?" he asked in a troubled voice. 

The shadow moved closer: "It's only me, sir," said 
Carter, who had left orders to be called directly the Captain 
was seen on deck. 

"Oh, yes, I might have known," mumbled Lingard in 
some confusion. He requested Carter to have a boat manned 
and when after a time the young man told him that it was 
ready, he said "All right" and remained leaning on his elbow. 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said Carter after a longish silence, 
"but are you going some distance.''" 

"No, I only want to be put ashore on the sandbank." 

Carter was relieved to hear this, but also surprised. 
"There is nothing living there, sir," he said. 

"I wonder," muttered Lingard. 

"But I am certain," Carter insisted. "The last of the 
women and children belonging to those cut-throats were 
taken off by the sampans which brought you and the yacht- 
party out." 

He walked at Lingard's elbow to the gangway and listened 
to his orders. 

"Directly there is enough light to see flags by, make a 
signal to the schooner to heave short on her cable and loose 
her sails. If there is any hanging back give them a blank 
gun, Mr. Carter. I will have no shilly-shallying. If she 
doesn't go at the word, by heavens, I will drive her out. I 
am still master here — for another day." 

The overwhelming sense of immensity, of disturbing emp- 
tiness, which affects those who walk on the sands in the midst 


of the sea, intimidated Mrs. Travers. The world resembled 
a limitless flat shadow which was motionless and elusive. 
Then against the southern stars she saw a human form that 
isolated and lone appeared to her immense: the shape of a 
giant outlined amongst the constellations. As it approached 
her it shrank to common proportions, got clear of the stars, 
lost its awesomeness and became menacing in its ominous 
and silent advance. Mrs. Travers hastened to speak. 

"You have asked for me. I am come. I trust you will 
have no reason to regret my obedience." 

He walked up quite close to her, bent down sUghtly to peer 
into her face. The first of the tropical dawa put its char- 
acteristic cold sheen into the sky above the Shore of Refuge. 
Mrs. Travers did not turn away her head. 
"Are you looking for a change in me? No. You won't 
see it. Now I know that I couldn't change even if I wanted 
to. I am made of clay that is too hard." 

" I am looking at you for the first time," said Lingard. " I 
never could see you before. There were too many things, 
too many thoughts, too many people. No, I never saw you 
before. But now the world is dead." 

He grasped her shoulders, approaching his face close to 
hers. She never flinched. 

"Yes, the world is dead," she said. "Look your fill then. 
It won't be for long." 

He let her go as suddenly as though she had struck him. 
The cold white hght of the tropical dawn had crept past the 
zenith now and the expanse of the shallow waters looked cold, 
too, without stir or ripple within the enormous rim of the 
horizon where, to the west, a shadow lingered still. 
"Take my arm," he said. 

She did so at once, and turning their backs on the two ships 
they began to walk along the sands, but they had not made 
many steps when Mrs. Travers perceived an oblong mound 
with a board planted upright at one end. Mrs. Travers 
knew that part of the sands. It was where she used to walk 
with her husband and d'Alcacer every evening after dinner, 
while the yacht lay stranded and her boats were away in 


search of assistance — which they had found — ^which they had 
found ! This was something that she had never seen there be- 
fore. Lingard had suddenly stopped and looked at it moodily. 
She pressed his arm to rouse him and asked : " What is this? " 

"This is a grave," said Lingard in a low voice, and still 
gazing at the heap of sand. "I had him taken out of the 
ship last night. Strange," he went on in a musing tone, 
"how much a grave big enough for one man only can hold. 
His message was to forget everything." 

"Never, never," murmured Mrs. Travers. "I •wish I had 
been on board the Emma. . . . You had a madman 
there," she cried out, suddenly. They moved on again, 
Lingard looking at Mrs. Travers who was leaning on his arm. 

"I wonder which of us two was mad," he said. 

"I wonder you can bear to look at me," she murmured. 
Then Lingard spoke again. 

"I had to see you once more." 

"That abominable Jorgenson," she whispered to herself. 

"No, no, he gave me my chance — ^before he gave me up." 

Mrs. Travers disengaged her arm and Lingard stopped, too, 
facing her in a long silence. 

"I could not refuse to meet you," said Mrs. Travers at 
last. "I could not refuse you anything. You have all the 
right on your side and I don't care what you do or say. But 
I wonder at my own courage when I think of the confession 
I have to make." She advanced, laid her hand on Lingard's 
shoulder and spoke earnestly. "I shuddered at the thought 
of meeting you again. And now you must listen to my con- 

"Don't say a word," said Lingard in an untroubled voice 
and never taking his eyes from her face. "I know already." 

"You can't," she cried. Her hand slipped off his shoulder. 
"Then why don't you throw me into the sea?" she asked, 
passionately. "Am I to live on hating myself?" 

"You mustn't!" he said with an accent of fear. "Haven't 
you understood long ago that if you had given me that ring 
it would have been just the same?" 

"Am I to believe this? No, no! You are too generous to 


a mere sham. You are the most magnanimous of men but 
you are throwing it away on me. Do you think it is remorse 
that I feel? No. If it is anything it is despair. But you 
must have known that— and yet you wanted to look at me 

"I told you I never had a chance before," said Lingard in 
an unmoved voice. "It was only after I heard they gave 
you the ring that I felt the hold you have got on me. How 
could I tell before? What has hate or love to do with you 
and me? Hate. Love. What can touch you? For me 
you stand above death itself; for I see now that as long as I 
live you will never die." 

They confronted each other at the southern edge of the 
sands as if afloat on the open sea. The central ridge heaped 
up by the winds masked from them the very mast heads of 
the two ships and the growing brightness of the light only 
augmented the sense of their invincible solitude in the awful 
serenity of the world. Mrs. Travers suddenly put her arm 
across her eyes and averted her face. 

Then he added: 

"That's all." 

Mrs. Travers let fall her arm and began to retrace her steps, 
unsupported and alone. Lingard followed her on the edge 
of the sand uncovered by the ebbing tide. A belt of orange 
light appeared in the cold sky above the black forest of the 
Shore of Refuge and faded quickly to the gold that melted 
soon into a blinding and colourless glare. It was not till 
after she had passed Jaffir's grave that Mrs. Travers stole a 
backward glance and discovered that she was alone. Lingard 
had left her to herself. She saw him sitting near the moxmd 
of sand, his back bowed, his hands clasping his knees, as if 
he had obeyed the invincible call of his great visions haunting 
the grave of the faithful messenger. Shading her eyes with 
her hand Mrs. Travers watched the immobility of that man 
of infinite illusions. He never moved, he never raised his 
head. It was all over. He was done with her. She waited 
a little longer and then went slowly on her way. 

Shaw, now acting second mate of the yacht, came off with 


another hand in a little boat to take Mrs. Travers on board. 
He stared at her like an offended owl. How the lady could 
.suddenly apf>ear at sunrise waving her handkerchief from 
the sandbank he could not understand. For, even if she 
had managed to row herself off secretly in the dark, she could 
not have sent the empty boat back to the yacht. It was to 
Shaw a sort of improper miracle. 

D'Alcacer hurried to the top of the side ladder and as they 
met on deck Mrs. Travers astonished him by saying in a 
strangely provoking tone : 

"You're right. I have come back." Then with a little 
laugh which impressed d'Alcacer painfuUy she added with a 
nod downwards, "and Martin, too, was perfectly right. It 
was absolutely unimportant." 

She walked on straight to the taffrail and d'Alcacer fol- 
lowed her aft alarmed at her white face, at her brusque move- 
ments, at the nervous way in which she was fumbling at her 
throat. He waited discreetly till she turned round and thrust 
out towards him her open palm on which he saw a thick gold 
ring set with a large green stone. 

"Look at this, Mr. d'Alcacer. This is the thing which I 
asked you whether I should give up or conceal — the symbol 
of the last hour — the call of the supreme minute. And he 
said it would have made no difference ! He is the most mag- 
nanimous of men and the uttermost farthing has been paid. 
He has done with me. The most magnanimous . . . 
but there is a grave on the sands by which I left him sitting 
with no glance to spare for me. His last glance on earth! 
I am left with this thing. Absolutely unimportant. A dead 
talisman." With a nervous jerk she flung the ring overboard, 
then with a hurried entreaty to d'Alcacer, "Stay here a 
moment. Don't let anybody come near us," she burst into 
tears and turned her back on him. 

Lingard returned on board his brig and in the early after- 
noon the Lightning got under way, running past the schooner 
to give her a lead through the maze of shoals. Lingard was 
on deck but never looked once at the following vessel. 


Directly both sliips were in clear water he went below saying 
to Carter: "You know what to do." 

"Yes, sir," said Carter. 

Shortly after his captain had disappeared from the deck 
Carter laid the main topsail to the mast. The Lightning lost 
her way while the schooner with all her light kites abroad 
passed close imder her stem holding on her com-se. Mrs. 
Travers stood aft very rigid, gripping the rail with both hand* 
The rim of her white hat was blown upwards on one side and 
her yachting skirt stirred in the breeze. By her side d'Alcacer 
waved his hand courteously. Carter raised his cap to them. 

During the afternoon he paced the poop with measured 
steps, with a pair of binoculars in his hand. At last he laid 
the glasses down, glanced at the compass-card and walked 
to the cabin skylight which was open. 

"Just lost her, sir," he said. All was still down there. 
He raised his voice a little. 

"You told me to let you know directly I lost sight of the 

The sound of a stifled groan reached the attentive Carter 
and a weary voice said, "All right, I am coming." 

When Lingard stepped out on the poop of the Lightning 
the open water had turned purple already in the evening light, 
while to the east the shallows made a steely glitter all along 
the sombre line of the shore. Lingard, with folded arms, looked 
over the sea. Carter approached him and spoke quietly. 

"The tide has turned and the night is coming on. Hadn't 
we better get away from these shoals, sir? " 

Lingard did not stir. 

"Yes, the night is coming on. You may fill the main 
topsail, Mr. Carter," he said and he relapsed into silence with 
his eyes fixed in the southern board where the shadows were 
creeping stealthily towards the setting svm. Presently Car- 
ter stood at his elbow again. 

"The brig is beginning to forge ahead, sir," he said in a 
warning tone. 

Lingard came out of his absorption with a deep tremor 
of his powerful frame like the shudder of an uprooted tree. 


"How was the yacht heading when you lost sight of her? " 
he asked. 

"South as near as possible," answered Carter. "Will you 
give me a course to steer for the night, sir? " 

Lingard's lips trembled before he spoke but his voice was 

"Steer north," he said. 



Cornell University Library 
PR6005.O58R4 1920 

The rescue; a romance of the shallows, by 

3 1924 013 363 373